Title Fraud or Deed Theft and Preventative Measures

Recently our office has received inquiries regarding advertisements from companies offering services to protect against home title fraud, also frequently called deed theft. Many do not know what title fraud is, or whether they need to pay a service to guard against it. The concept of title fraud generally involves recording forged or altered documents in a county’s registry that purport to transfer ownership of real estate from one party to another. Once a county’s records have been updated to show the fraudster or their affiliated entity as the property’s owner, the criminal may attempt to sell the property or … Continue reading

South Carolina Tax Liens – 2019 Statutory Changes

The practice of searching title to South Carolina real property may be changing soon.  Governor Henry McMaster recently signed a bill allowing for the creation of a statewide filing and indexing system of liens imposed by the South Carolina Department of Revenue that will take effect on July 1, 2019.  Currently, state tax liens are filed with the office of a county’s Register of Deeds, Register of Mesne Conveyance, or Clerk of Court.  Once the new system is implemented, liens will instead be filed in a statewide registry that will be publically accessible and searchable online.  The most significant result … Continue reading

Marital Rights in North Carolina Real Estate

Occasionally sellers of real property, or borrowers in refinance transactions, are confused upon being informed their spouse is required to sign certain documents at closing.  It’s not uncommon for closing attorneys to receive inquiries wondering “why do they need to sign?  They’ve never had anything to do with this property!”  While it’s certainly possible to purchase and hold property individually, a married person generally needs to involve their spouse in some manner when selling or refinancing North Carolina real estate. The concept of marital rights in real property descended from English common law principles designed to benefit the surviving spouse … Continue reading

Can an affidavit “fix” an error within a document recorded in North Carolina?

Real estate attorneys are occasionally faced with questions from clients and lenders about correcting typographical or other errors appearing in a recorded document.  It is often suggested that simply filing an affidavit should be sufficient to correct the document, but such affidavits are not always capable of accomplishing the intended result.  North Carolina recently revised its statutes regarding corrective affidavits, and this brief overview is intended to highlight distinctions between the various affidavits currently available. Affidavits for Minor Typographical Errors In the event a recorded instrument contains a “nonmaterial” or other minor error, an affidavit may be recorded to provide … Continue reading