Land transactions are memorialized in a written form known as a deed. Deeds are recorded in the Registry of Deeds in the County in Maine where the property is located. Deeds are listed under the last name of the grantor (seller) and the grantee (buyer). Attorneys and title examiners use what is called a grantor-grantee index to research property ownership rights by examining these instruments.
A deed is structured so that it contains all of the crucial information necessary to demonstrate who owns the land, where exactly the land is located on the face of the earth, in what manner the land is held, and any encumbrances (mortgages, liens, etc.) or other interests in the property. Deeds also contain certain historical information as well as specialized legal clauses necessary to validate the deed.
There are also several types of deeds, each providing the owner of the land with a particular type of interest. Commonly used deeds in Maine are the quit claim deed, warranty deed, and release deed. Warranty deeds provide the most protection to buyers because they carry with them certain warranties on the property from the previous owner. Quit claim deeds are common for family conveyances or foreclosure purchases, tax acquired property purchases, or at times regular sales in which the seller does not want to warrant the title in the same manner as a warranty deed. A release deed is a deed whereby the signor releases to the other party any interest, if any, that they had in the property.
The existence of title insurance has served to greatly minimize the importance of the type of deed held today since title insurance will typically cover any of the problems with the title as discuss below.
The Attorneys and experienced staff at Griffin & Jordan have prepared thousands of deeds since 1974 and we have the expertise to help you solidify your land transaction with a well-crafted deed that will serve to protect your interest in your property. Call us today for help with your deed work. We work on all manner of land transactions including purchases, court-ordered divorce deeds (abstracts of divorce), and gifting deeds. We also specialize in helping you review your title to ensure that there are no unknown encumbrances on the property. If there are undischarged tax liens or mortgages, we will help you obtain a discharge to clear your title.
Despite a drafter’s greatest efforts, hidden defects in land titles sometimes occur, such as easements not stated in deeds, or faulty conveyances somewhere in the chain of title. In Real Estate law, claims can sometimes arise from unknown sources that would be virtually impossible to discover or anticipate. To protect against this, Griffin & Jordan strongly advises its clients to purchase Title Insurance. Title Insurance is a method of protecting title to your property. It indemnifies the policyholder for losses occurring from a defect in title. It protects against both negligence by title examiners and hidden defects in title. It also pays for your legal defense if someone challenges your title.
Griffin & Jordan works closely with your title insurer to provide the best quality insurance policies that we can obtain for your property. We are proud to have been working with First American insurance for many years.
For more information about Title Insurance, visit First American’s Q & A on the subject.