abstract of title

Updated on: 26 Jul 2017

Definition of abstract of title

  1. :  a summary statement of the successive conveyances and other facts on which a title to a piece of land rests

First Known Use of abstract of title

1797


Financial Definition of ABSTRACT OF TITLE

abstract of title

What It Is

An abstract of title is a history of a piece of property.

How It Works

For example, let's say John Doe wants to buy the house at 123 Main St. As part of the transaction, his title insurance company obtains a copy of the property's abstract of title. They want to make sure that Jane Smith, who is selling 123 Main St., is the legal owner of the property and that there aren't any other claims on the property. The abstract of title shows all of the legal actions related to the property, as well as the names of any entities that have liens on the property and all the previous owners.

Why It Matters

The abstract of title is a written history of a piece of property and can be fascinating for older pieces of real estate. However, its primary use in most real estate transactions is to ensure that the seller of a piece of real estate is the actual owner of the property and that nobody else is claiming ownership of the property. Title insurance companies, which guarantee that the property is owned by the stated owner, are thus particularly interested in abstracts of title. If they overlook something, they may be subject to paying claims.


Law Dictionary

abstract of title

  1. :  a summary statement of the successive conveyances and other facts on which a title to a piece of land rests


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