Many clients come into our office and have questions about title examination. Here are some title examination FAQs. If you have more questions, feel free to contact our office at 304-863-5542 for additional information.
What is a title examination?
A “title examination” is a search, review, examination, inspection or investigation of the history and present condition of the title of certain real estate and its status with reference to liens, encumbrances, clouds, etc. in order to determine its legal condition and marketability. It is an important requirement to clear your land title prior to any closing.
Why does a title examination need to be conducted by an attorney?
Conducting a title examination requires knowledge and appreciation of various laws and statutes in the state of West Virginia, therefore conducting a title examination is the practice of law in West Virginia. In Advisory Opinion 2010-002 (Amended), the Unlawful Practice of Law Committee of The West Virginia State Bar states that a lay person cannot conduct a real estate title examination unless that person is under the direct supervision and control of a licensed attorney.
Our clients have the safety and reassurance that all title examinations provided by Raber Law Offices, PLLC, are conducted by an attorney or one of our experienced real estate paralegals operating under the supervision and control of a lawyer.
Independent abstractors can’t conduct title examinations?
Advisory Opinion 2010-002 (Amended) states that a full-time employee may perform legal services, including a title examination, but the law does not cover independent contractors or independent abstractors.
An independent abstractor is just that — an independent contractor, not a bona fide full-time lay employee of an attorney that is his or her regular employer. Under the definition of the practice of law, a lay person may engage in the practice of law for his or her regular employer if such person is a bona fide full-time lay employee. An independent abstractor performing legal services that is not a bona fide full-time lay employee conducting those legal services for his or her regular employer (an attorney) is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
The legal services provided by Raber Law Offices, PLLC, including title examinations, are conducted by an attorney or a member of our real estate paralegal team, all of whom are full-time employees of our firm. Our clients can always rely on the title services provided by our office to be conducted in full compliance of the laws of the state of West Virginia and that our legal services are never conducted by independent lay persons engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.