Articles Tagged with legal title

underwood-primer-after-acquired-title-doctrine-300x300When it comes to real estate transactions, ensuring a clean and clear title is essential. However, what happens if a property is sold without a perfect title, only for the seller to acquire the missing rights or interests later? This scenario is where the After Acquired Title Doctrine comes into play. In this blog, we’ll discuss what this doctrine entails, its implications for buyers and sellers, and how it impacts real estate transactions.

What is the “After Acquired Title Doctrine”?

The After Acquired Title Doctrine is a legal principle that addresses situations where a seller transfers property without having complete ownership or rights to the property at the time of sale. 

underwood-title-insurance-real-estate-litigation-300x300Before undertaking litigation over real estate in California, title insurance can help to provide clarity as to important ownership questions. Title insurance is not just nice to have, in many instances, the law specifically envisions that the parties will obtain a title report of some type. For example, the Partition Law specifically envisions that the plaintiff will obtain a title report before filing the suit in Code of Civil Procedure section 872.220.

While a title report may be beneficial, a careful partition lawyer will consider going a step further and obtaining some sort of title insurance in order to adequately address any issues that could arise during the lawsuit. Because there are a number of types of insurance that could be obtained, this article will discuss the different options of title insurance available as part of real estate litigation. 

What is Title Insurance? 

underwood-ccp-titlereport-300x300The California Partition Law begins at Code of Civil Procedure section 872.010 and ends at Code of Civil Procedure section 874.323. Section 872.220 requires that the plaintiff state the existence and location of a title report if they have procured one. A title report includes a preliminary report, guarantee, binder, or policy of title insurance. (CCP § 872.010 subd. (e).)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.220 states

If it is necessary to have a title report:

Underwood-Blog-Images-4-1-300x300The significance of the differences between legal and equitable title is an outright confusing topic, requiring some knowledge of constructive trusts, beneficial interests, and seller’s liens. That said, the concept can be made digestible by boiling it down to its essential elements. When done, this simplification reveals how often we encounter both types of titles in common real estate transactions.

At its core, the difference between these titles contains significance only insofar as there are multiple interested parties in the same property. When this is the case, the law creates a legal fiction of sorts, assigning the beneficial use of the property to the “equitable” titleholder and the legal power over the property to the “legal” titleholder.

The explanation is, in reality, much more complex, but the attorneys at Underwood Law are more than familiar with the ins and outs of title disputes and are here to help navigate you through your real estate lawsuit.

stacked of books on a desk
When a title owner sues to partition the property, then the matter is relatively straightforward. On the other hand, when a person claims to be an owner of the property but does not appear on the title, can they still sue to partition the property?

Who can sue for partition?

A legal titleholder—as well as the holder of an equitable title to an undivided interest—may sue to establish his or her right and to obtain a division of the common property. (Varni v. Devoto (1909) 10 Cal.App. 304.) Not all equitable titles, however, are created equal. Indeed, the partition statute explicitly lists the types of equitable interests that may have a right to seek recourse through the partition.

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