In our continued effort to keep our agents and escrow officers apprised of trends in the title industry, our claims counsels and administrators have shared the following claim story. It is our goal to share these stories and help you avoid similar scenarios in the future.
In this story we describe a scenario involving a Quit Claim Deed and an attempt to defraud a title agent. Here’s how it played out:
The agent received a contract from a seller for a closing. The deed into the seller was executed in 2010 and recorded in 2017. A title claim was received when the rightful heirs of the grantor on the deed came forward and alleged the grantor had died in 2017. The deed had been backdated to a date prior to the grantor’s death.
The Quit Claim Deed continues to be a source of fraud and forgery. Be skeptical of recently recorded Quit Claim Deeds and Special Warranty Deeds. Contact Underwriting if you see these red flags:
- The Quit Claim Deed is not recorded in connection with a divorce, a foreclosure, or to clear a title defect
- The Quit Claim Deed is handwritten
- The Scrivener is not shown, or the Grantee is the Scrivener
- The Quit Claim Deed is recorded several months after it is executed or acknowledged
- The acknowledgment is incomplete
- The appraiser’s website shows an out of state address for the Grantor, but the deed was acknowledged locally (and vice versa)
- The Grantor’s address on Quit Claim Deed is out of state, but the deed was acknowledged locally (and vice versa)
- Witness’s names are familiar (same as grantee, movie stars, cartoons)
- The Grantee is a current tenant
- The Notary’s stamp looks fishy, e.g., Commission Number has consecutive numbers “987654” or may be too long or short. (In Florida, for instance, the Commission Number is usually 6 digits).