An abstract of title is a collection of public records relating to the ownership of a parcel of real estate. Your closing agent will examine the applicable title information to determine who owns the land, and if there are defects or claims against the ownership, and takes any action needed to secure good record title.
While this may seem to be a simple operation, it is not. It requires interpreting numerous deeds, legal descriptions, mortgages, Wills, court decrees, and other instruments; considering the sequence of times of transactions and events affecting the title; and applying laws in court decisions to the various situations disclosed in the applicable title information.
The examination of title requires a thorough knowledge of many phases of law. An examination of applicable title information may involve evaluating a variety of problems such as the validity of divorces, the effectiveness of foreclosures, the scope of restrictions, the presence of federal and state tax liens and the effect of old claims against the land.