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Bar News - January 16, 2009

2008 Title Examination Standards


Adopted by the Board of Governors Dec. 4, effective Dec. 31, 2008

At the Nov. 13, 2008 meeting of the Real Property Law Section, the Section unanimously voted to send the proposed 2008 Title Examination Standards to the Board of Governors for adoption. The Sectionís Title Standards Committee presented the Sectionís request for adoption to the Board of Governors at their meeting on Dec. 4, 2008. The Board unanimously approved the Standards with an effective date of Dec. 31, 2008.

The Title Examination Standards were first adopted on Feb. 5, 1954. Subsequent revisions were made and became effective on Feb.9, 1963, Jan. 1, 1974, June 1, 1980, Jan. 1, 1988, Jan.1, 1990, January 1, 1997, July 15, 2007 and most recently on Dec. 31, 2008.

The Title Standards Committee is a standing Committee of the Real Property Law Section and conducts an annual review of the existing Standards. The Committee meets regularly to review and discuss proposed changes, including suggestions sent directly to the Committee, raised at Section meetings or submitted electronically on the Real Property Listserv. As a result of the 2008 review, the Committee posted a draft of proposed revisions to the 2007 Standards on the Sectionís Title Standards page of the Barís website and posted notice on the Sectionís Listserv on Sep. 2, 2008.

Section members had the opportunity to submit comments for a 30-day comment period ending on Oct. 2, 2008. The Committee also presented the revisions at the Sep. 9, 2008 Section meeting. A few revisions were suggested, and a revised draft with adopted comments was posted on the Sectionís Title Standards page, with notice posted on the Listserv. The revisions were also discussed at the Oct. 14, 2008 Section meeting. At the Nov. 13, 2008 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 Dec. 4, 2008, the Board of Governors adopted the Sectionís recommendation as the 2008 New Hampshire Title Standards, effective Dec. 31, 2008.

The 2008 Title Examination Standards are electronically accessible by Members of the New Hampshire Bar Association on the Real Property Law Section page of the New Hampshire Bar Association website ( Go to the Real Property Law Section Materials page, and then click on the link, "Title Standards," to view the Standards. The 2008 Title Examination Standards are presented online in a "Clean" version and in a "Redline" version (the 2007 version with deletions in redlined strikeouts and additions in blue underlines). The 2008 Standards, in "Clean" and "Redline" versions, are also available for public access  in the "Legal Links" area with a click on the "NH Practice Guidelines."

A Guide to the Revisions

To view all the revisions, see the "Redline" version posted on the Title Standards Page. 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. Any 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 2007 standards are noted with the year "2008" at the end of each revised Standard. Changes in topic heading, minor typographical errors or punctuation are not noted with the date 2008. New standards can be easily spotted as containing only one date: 2008. Copies of the 2008 "Clean" or "Redline" versions can be printed by the viewer if a hard copy is needed.

New changes to the Title Standards can be easily searched online by using "2008" in the search field. The 2007 and 2008 versions of the Standards are posted online along with the 2007 redlined version, for ease of reference in identifying the 2008 changes. The Bar Association website makes the 2008 Standards available to members at no charge.

Highlights of the Revisions

The 2008 Title Examination Standards amend the 2007 Standards in a number of ways. Changes in statutes, case law and real estate practice have been noted. See, e.g., homestead standards 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, 5-6 and 5-7 in regard to the new civil union statute. Many standards have had case law or statutory annotations added. See, e.g., 7-23 on Intestacy and 10-1 on Recorded Plans.

The 2008 Standards are amended to identify new laws, cases and practice standards and include several new standards that address:
  • trust names (4-15);
  • civil unions (5-51);
  • execution and acknowledgment by attorneys-in-fact (5-52);
  • rights of reverter and future interests (5-53); and
  • hazardous and dilapidated building liens (9-39).
New Features

The 2008 Title Examination Standards contain a revised Table of Contents and revised Index. The Standards are also electronically searchable. New standards can be easily searched online by using "2008" in the search field. All past versions of the Standards (1954, 1963, 1974, 1980, 1988, 1990 and 2007) are also posted online and searchable as well. Due to the online search capability, the 2007 and 2008 Standards discontinued the use of the 1997 printed chart of changes, since the redlined text shows deletions and additions, and all prior standards are available online. The 2007 "Redline" version will remain online for ease of tracking the 2007 to 2008 changes, and for reference.

Annual Title Examination Standards Review Process

As statutory and case law changes, subsequent reviews and revisions to the Standards are addressed annually using the discussions at Section meetings and on the ListServ as an online capability of the Real Property Law Section Materials page of the Bar website. In 1988 the Section created the Title Standards Committee as a standing committee to address revisions on a yearly basis; the annual review process was reinstituted in 2008. Suggestions for 2009 revisions may be posted on the Real Property Law Section Listserv with the Subject line: "2008 Title Standards Suggestions."

The Committee monitors issues arising on the Listserv; at Section meetings or brought to its attention by individual Section members. The goal of the Committeeís annual review is to provide the Section each year with proposed revisions in September on the ListServ and at the September Section meeting; opportunity for discussion and comment during a 30-day Comment Period ending in early October; further discussion, if needed, at the October meeting and Section vote at the November Section meeting. The Sectionís recommendations once approved would be recommended to the Board of Governors for adoption at their next meeting in November or December.

April 2009 CLE

On April 8, 2009, the 2008 Title Standards Committee will present a morning panel discussion of Title Standards featuring the 2008 Title Examination Standards. The NH Bar and its Real Property Law Section will jointly sponsor the seminar at the Bar Center from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

The members of the Sectionís 2008 Title Standards Committee are:

Chair: Carol Durgy Brooks, Esq., CATIC Title Insurance
James O. Barney, Esq., Sulloway & Hollis, P.L.L.C.
Heidi J. Barrett-Kitchen, Esq., Wiggin & Nourie, PA
Christopher L. Boldt, Esq., Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, PLLC
Robert J. Deshaies, Esq., Healey, Deshaies, Gagliardi & Woelfel, PC
Jacqueline Fitzgerald-Boyd, Esq., Fitzgerald-Boyd Law, PLLC
Robert R. Howard, III, Esq., Robert Howard Law Office & Stonebridge Title Company LLC
Denis O. Robinson, Esq., Pierce Atwood, LLP
Phillip J. Stiles, Esq., TitlePro, LLC

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