Just like classic cars and old houses, every property has a story to tell. Some stories are relatively short while others may read like a Dickens novel. Regardless of their age, however, each piece of property has a history which is contained in what is referred to as its chain of title.
A chain of title essentially refers to a property’s history of title, with each title holder acting as links in a chain, going all the way back when the property was conveyed for the first time. The chain of title establishes the entire history of the grantor-grantee relationships with regard to a certain parcel almost as if it were a timeline of that parcel’s owners.
Every Property Has a Story: Chain of Title
A chain of title is simply the collection of all of the deeds recorded on the property. Each deed represents a link of the chain. To illustrate,
A to B, then B to C, then C to D, the D to E …
For example, in 1910 Grantor A (the seller) conveys Blackacre (the property) to Grantee B (the buyer) by signing a deed to Grantee B. Fifteen years later in 1925, the current owner, Grantee B, now decides to sell Blackacre to Grantee C. The chain of title for Blackacre would reflect each conveyance that occurred. Blackacre’s chain of title would show A conveyed the property to B in 1910, and then B conveyed the property to C in 1925. While this doesn’t seem too difficult to follow, Blackacre’s chain of title with only two conveyances, a property’s chain of title can quickly become complicated when dealing with decades of conveyances to numerous people and many different property interests, such as mortgages, foreclosures and liens.
Understanding the chain of title is important for many reasons. Primarily, it acts as a notice to everyone in the world of who exactly holds the title to the land in question. The current title owner will of course be the last person, or link, in the chain of title. Examination of the chain of title also serves as a useful tool in determining who must be named and properly served in quiet title action. Under Michigan law, any person who claims an interest in the property or who might claim “any interest inconsistent with the interest claimed by the plaintiff…” must be named as a party in a quiet title action. MCL § 600.2932(1).
The good news is that you do not have to go it alone in your quiet title action. With our intelligent, experienced attorneys, you can sit back while we take care of everything for you. If you need our assistance with a quiet title action, do not hesitate to call our office.