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Stewart Title Guaranty
Company
Best Search and Examination
Practices
What We Do
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Search and Examination is the Process
Where Documents are Indexed
Geographically in the Title Plant that are
Found to Affect Real Property.
Arkansas Insurance Department
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When Title Insurance is Involved Act 684
of 2007 and its Associated Rules Come
into Play.
It is Important that You Understand Act
684 and Follow Rules 87 and 88 Explicitly.
Arkansas Insurance Department
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Title Insurance Department of Insurance
Requirements.
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Thirty Year Search, is this Adequate?
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When do You Need to Find a Patent?
Arkansas Insurance Department
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When a Title Company Lists the Title of a
Document and its Recording Information
as an Exception, the Company Fulfills its
Duty to the Insured. Too much detail can
lead to claims.
It is Incumbent on the Insured to
Understand the Document.
See Stewart Bulletin AR 2010001
Arkansas Code 23-103-413. Policy Holder
Rights and Disclosure.
Insuring
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Title Policies Insure Certain Matters.
Title is of Such Quality that no One Can Take
Their Land Away. Marketable title?
Policies Contain Coverage Limitations which
are Either Preprinted Exclusions or
Exceptions Listed on the Schedule B. New
Texas law prohibiting creditor’s rights
coverage any where in US.
Requirements are set forth in the Schedule
B-1 of the Commitment and Must be Met
Before the Insurer Agrees to take a Risk.
Title Defects
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Curing Title Defects is Not Our Job.
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This is the Job of the Buyer or Seller.
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Our Duty is to Report Them
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We can provide guidance as to what we will
require to remove an exception.
Title Insurance and Loss Prevention
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Title Insurance was Founded on the Principle of
Loss Prevention.
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Plate glass and boiler insurance closest kin
By Searching and Examining Documents
Pertaining to Real Property, Title Insurers Can
Price Their Product Accordingly by Spreading
the Risk over its business base.
Since Title Plants are Geographically Indexed
they Provide More Accurate and Secure Records
than a Name Based Grantor Grantee Index.
Title Insurance and Loss Prevention
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Please note that the pricing of our product
includes losses from known types of risk.
It does not include taking a risk in a
particular file.
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Fraud & Forgery
Conflicting Wills
Missing Heirs
Duress, incompetence, or incapacity
Escrow VS. Title
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Over the Years the Escrow Function Has Grown
More and More Important.
A Closers Job is to Close Transactions.
The Plant’s Job is to Prevent Losses.
Fortunately, Escrow Losses Tend to be Relatively
Small. ($5,000.00 or Less)
Title Losses Can be Huge.
Our agency agreements do not cover an agent’s
independent escrow business. We can provide our
opinion but we don’t direct your activities.
Parties to the Transaction
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The Owner, Seller or Borrower is extremely
Important.
He/She Must be 18 Years Old and Has Not been
Found Incompetent.
Those Involved Must Have Acceptable
Identification. Beware of young people at closing
table when title has been in the owners for 25
years. Death/Fraud/Forgery?
If the Entity is Not a Person, the Proper Founding
and Transaction Specific Documents Must be
Required and Examined.
Patriot Act Search
Homestead, Dower and Curtesy
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Dower and Curtesy Provide a Spouse with
a Life Estate in One-Third of all Realty
Owned by the Wife or Husband During
Their Marriage.
Homestead May be Described as the Main
Dwelling of the Head of a Household.
Homestead, Dower and Curtesy Must be
Addressed in All Conveyances and Security
Instruments.
Joint Tenants with Right of
Survivorship
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Act 56 of 1991 Authorizes Two or More
People, Regardless of Their Relationship,
to Take Title as Joint Tenants With Right
of Survivorship.
Powers of Attorney
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We Accept Three Types of POA’S
Specific Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney
Military Power of Attorney
POA’s are Dangerous. Call Your
Underwriter if You are in Doubt. But don’t
forget that people do have the right to use
a POA.
Legal Descriptions
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Legal Descriptions are the Basis for
Identifying What We Insure.
A Description, Whether it be Metes and
Bounds or Lot and Block Can Fit No Other
Tract of Land. It is unique unto itself.
It should be Exact and Enable You to Locate
that Specific Area. Always Proof Your
Descriptions.
When Dealing With Metes and Bounds
Descriptions, it is Prudent to Draw Out the
Surrounding Property Descriptions to check
for Overlaps or Encroachments.
Searching Oil and Gas
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When Doing a Mineral Search, it is
Necessary to Search All the Way Back to
the Patent in Order to Delete the Broad
Mineral Exception in the Policy. Naturally,
you will except to any severance of the
Mineral Title.
Surveys
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Surveys are an Integral Part of our Business.
It is permissible to use an old survey. Please check
with an underwriter if the survey to be used is
more than 10 years old.
Require an Affidavit from the Owner that Nothing
Has Been Done Since the Date of the Survey that
Would Affect it.
For Large Commercial Transactions, Require an
ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey. New Standards for
These Surveys Have Just Gone Into Effect. Contact
This Office for a Copy of the Standards, or see
Bulletin SLS2011018
Acknowledgments
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Be Careful of Faulty Acknowledgments.
Act 1081 of 1993 Cures Many Defects
Commonly Found in Acknowledgments,
but not All.
If You are in Doubt, Call this Office.
Judgment Liens
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Plain Money Judgments are Effective for Ten
Years and May be Revived for Another Ten
Year Period Prior to the Expiration of the
Initial Time Period.
Federal Judgments (not tax liens) are Good
for Twenty Years and May also be Revived.
Arkansas Criminal Judgments do not Affect
Real Property Unless a Lis Pendens Has Been
Filed.
A Hospital or Medical Lien Does not Affect
Real Property Unless it has Been Reduced to
Judgment.
Types of UCC’S
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A UCC Must Contain the Legal Description in
Order to Affect Real Property.
A Standard UCC is Good for Five Years.
A UCC on a Mobile Home is Good for Thirty
Years.
UCC’S Affecting Farm Land are Filed at the
County Level.
All Others are Filed with The Secretary of
State of the state where the person lives or
an entity does its primary business.
What Have WE Learned?
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A Great Many People are Relying on Us to do Our
Job Properly.
If we are correct 90% of the time, we can still have
significant claims (Example from Austin Texas in
1980’s).
Beware of Shortcuts. There is No Substitute for
Being Thorough and Conscientious in Your Work.
If you mess up, confess. Hiding a problem just
makes it worse. (Commonwealth Dallas issue)
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