abstract of title

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Written details of the title deeds and documents that prove an owner's right to dispose of his land or an interest in this. An abstract generally deals only with the legal estate and any equitable interests that are not overreached. An owner usually supplies an abstract of title before completion to an intending purchaser or mortgagee, who compares it with the original title deeds when these are produced or handed over on completion of the transaction. An abstract of title to registered land consists of official copies of the entries in the register and details of any other documents necessary to prove the owner's title, such as a marriage certificate proving a woman's change of surname. For unregistered land, the abstract of title must usually trace the history of the land's ownership from a document at least 15 years old (the root of title) and give details of any document creating encumbrances to which the land is subject. An abstract of title formerly comprised extracts, often in abbreviated note form, but now generally comprises duplicate copies of the relevant documents (an epitome of title). An abstract or epitome, with each copy document marked as examined against the original, may be sufficient in itself to deduce title; for instance, when a title is split into lots, the purchaser of each lot may be required to accept an examined abstract or epitome in lieu of the original title deeds, accompanied by an acknowledgment and undertaking.

Subjects: Law.

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