Learn why the chain is a prerequisite for ownership.
The casual observer unfamiliar with the process by which real property ownership is established may conceivably assume, wrongly, that a solitary deed in proper form and duly recorded in the public land records, standing alone, is sufficient to establish the real estate’s undisputed ownership of the grantee. However, the owner is not necessarily the person whose name appears in the last recorded deed. A deed is of little value if the grantor himself was not the true owner of the real estate when he delivered the deed. As an experienced examiner knows, the true owner is the person whose name appears in the last recorded deed in a long sequence of deeds, each of which reflects a continuous succession of transfer of ownership for the same property. The sequence of deeds, known as the chain of title, is an unbroken line of conveyances for the period of time that is necessary under state law to assure that the title of the grantee in the last deed is free from claims. This white paper reviews what the chain of title is and discusses what happens when there is a break and conflicting interests within a chain.
Duane H. Wunsch
Fidelity National Title Group, Inc.
- Wisconsin State Counsel for Fidelity National Title Group
- Over 30 years of experience, including searching and examining titles, closing transactions, and handling title insurance claims
- Member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Bar Association
- Past President of the Wisconsin Land Title Association
- J.D. degree, Emory University; B.A degree, UW - Madison
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