Bar News - July 6, 2007
Real Estate Law: 2007 Title Examination Standards
By: Carol Brooks
Adopted by the Board of Governors Effective July 15, 2007
At the June 5, 2007 meeting of the Real Property Law Section, the Section unanimously voted to send the proposed 2007 Title Examination Standards to the Board of Governors for adoption. The Section’s Title Standards Committee presented the Section’s request for adoption to the Board of Governors at their meeting on June 14, 2007. The Board unanimously approved the Standards with an effective date of July 15, 2007.
The Title Examination Standards were first adopted on February 5, 1954. Subsequent revisions were made and effective on February 9, 1963, January 1, 1974, June 1, 1980, January 1, 1988, January 1, 1990, January 1, 1997 and most recently July 15, 2007.
The Real Property Law Section convened the Title Standards Committee in the spring of 2004 and requested a review and revision to the 1997 Standards. The Committee met monthly to review and discuss proposed changes, including suggestions sent directly to the Committee, raised at Section meetings and submitted electronically on the newly instituted Real Property Listserv. On April 20, 2007, the Committee posted a notice regarding the drafting of the 2007 Title Examination Standards on the Listserv and invited Section members to submit comments to the Committee. A notice regarding the revised draft was also posted on the Listserv. At the June 5, 2007 meeting, Section members approved the revised draft with adopted comments and requested that it be forwarded to the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Bar Association. On June 14, 2007, the Board of Governors adopted the Section’s recommendation as the 2007 New Hampshire Title Standards, effective July 15, 2007.
The 2007 Title Examination Standards are posted online, available to members and the public, in the “Legal Links” area of www.nhbar.org. Look for NH Practice Guidelines, which contains a variety of forms and information. In addition, members of the Real Property Law Section can access a redline version of the updated standards, showing changes made from the 1997 version, as well as each of the previous updates in PDF formats.
(NHBA CLE and the Real Property Law Section are co-sponsoring a morning CLE program on the Title Examination Standards on September 19. See page 18 for details.)
A Guide to the Revisions
To view all the actual revisions, see the “redline” version posted on the Title Standards Page. In the 2007 edition, each Standard is assigned a title to make searching and identification of the contents easier. Each Standard is followed by a year or years in brackets. The year or years noted are the year that the Standard was first adopted and the year or years in which it was revised in substance, if any. The numerous changes in the renumbering of Standards, although shown, have not been considered to warrant a revision date, nor have a few minor typographical errors and corrections. Substantive changes to the 1997 standards are noted with the year “2007” at the end of each revised Standard. Changes in topic heading, minor typographical errors or punctuation are not noted with the date 2007. New standards can be easily spotted as containing only one date: 2007.
The 2007 Title Examination Standards amend the 1997 Standards in a number of ways. Changes in statutes, case law and real estate practice have been noted. See, e.g., 1-1, 1-3 and 1-4. Many standards have had case law or statutory annotations added. See, e.g., 7-12 on Consent by Guardian ad Litem and 9-32 on Current Use Assessment. Many standards that used to combine multiple issues, such as 1997 Standards 5-1 and 5-2, have been separated, rearranged and reordered to allow similar topics to be presented together. For instance, Dower and Curtesy issues are now placed together in new Standard 5-1, and only Homestead is addressed in new Standard 5-2. Topic headings have been added to every standard to make research, identification and retrieval easier.
New standards have also been added to identify new laws, cases and practice standards. Some of the proposed new standards deal with: commercial brokers’ liens (9-21); durable power of attorney requirements (5-43, 5-44, 545, 5-46 and 5-47); recording (1-4); ambiguous deed descriptions (5-50); MERS mortgage executions (6-9); discharge by affidavit of a NH attorney (618); duration of UCC financing statements on manufactured housing (622); federal tax liens and size of the gross estate (7-17); fiduciary deed with consent of heirs (7-24); entity name change, merger or conversion (8-6); excavation tax (9-9); lis pendens (9-30); UCC financing statements (9-38); boundary line agreements (10-4); lot line adjustments(5-38, 5-39, 540 and 10-5); condominium statutory requirements (11-1); receiverships (12-3): and conservatorships (12-4).
The 2007 Title Examination Standards contain a new Table of Contents and a new Index. The Standards are also electronically searchable. New standards can be easily searched online by using “2007” in the search field. All past versions of the Standards (1954, 1963, 1974, 1980, 1988, 1990 and 1997) are also posted online and searchable as well. Due to the online search capability, the 2007 Standards discontinue the use of the 1997 printed chart of changes, since the redlined text shows deletions and additions to the 1997 Standards, and all prior standards are available online. The 1997 redlined version will remain online for ease of tracking the 1997 to 2007 changes, and for reference.
Annual Title Examination Standards Review Process
As statutory or case law changes, subsequent reviews and revisions of the Standards can now be made annually on an as-needed basis using the online capability of the Real Property Law Section Materials page of the Bar Web site. As determined by the Section in the 1988 Standards Acknowledgment, the Title Standards Committee remains a working committee to address future amendments on a yearly basis. Suggestions for 2008 revisions may be posted on the Real Property Law Section Listserv with the Subject line: “2008 Title Standards Suggestions”.
The members of the Real Property Title Standards Committee are:
Chair: Carol Durgy Brooks, CATIC Title Insurance
James O. Barney, Sulloway & Hollis, P.L.L.C.
Heidi J. Barrett-Kitchen, Crisp, Barrett, Hebert & Uchida, PLLC
Christopher L. Boldt, Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, PLLC
Robert J. Deshaies, Healey, Deshaies, Gagliardi & Woelfel, PC
Robert R. Howard, III, Robert Howard Law Office & Stonebridge Title Company LLC
Denis O. Robinson, Wiggin & Nourie, P.A.
Phillip J. Stiles, TitlePro, LLC