White Paper

8 Pages
  • 8 Pages

Keys to Understanding Land Records: Chain of Title


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

Duane H. Wunsch

Fidelity National Title Group, Inc.

  • Vice president and state counsel for Fidelity National Title Group, Inc.’s Wisconsin office
  • 30 years of experience as in-house underwriting and claims counsel
  • Frequent lecturer to both attorney and non-attorney customer groups
  • Regularly conducts training sessions for title and escrow staff
  • J.D. degree, Emory University; B.A. degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Can be contacted at 262-796-3852 or [email protected]

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