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Bar News - December 13, 2013


Title Standards Revised

By:

At the November 12, 2013 meeting of the Real Property Law Section, the Section unanimously voted to send the proposed 2013 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 November 21, 2013. The Board unanimously approved and adopted the Standards with an effective date of December 31, 2013.

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, July 15, 2007, December 31, 2008, December 31, 2009, December 31, 2010, December 31, 2011, December 31, 2012 and most recently on December 31, 2013.

The members of the Section’s 2013 Title Standards Committee are:
Carol Durgy Brooks, Esq., Concord, Chair
James O. Barney, Esq., Sulloway & Hollis, P.L.L.C.
Heidi J. Barrett-Kitchen, Esq., Shaheen & Gordon, PA
Christopher L. Boldt, Esq., Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, PLLC
Jacqueline Fitzgerald-Boyd, Esq., Fitzgerald-Boyd Law, LLC
Robert R. Howard, III, Esq., Howard & Urbaitus PLLC & Stonebridge Title Company LLC
Scott D. Kumpf, Esq., Signature Title Services, Portsmouth, NH
Connie Boyles Lane, Esq., Orr & Reno, PA
Denis O. Robinson, Esq., Pierce Atwood, LLP
Phillip J. Stiles, Esq., Attorney at Law, Rochester, NH
Carol E. Willoughby, Esq., First American Title Insurance Co.
The Title Examination Standards Committee is a standing Committee of the Real Property Law Section and conducts an annual review of the existing Title Examination 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 listserve. As a result of the 2013 review, the Committee posted a draft of proposed revisions to the 2012 Standards on the Section’s Title Standards page of the Bar website and posted notice on the Section’s listserve on September 4, 2013. Section members had the opportunity to submit comments for a 30-day comment period ending on October 4, 2013. The Committee also introduced the proposed revisions at the September 10, 2013 Section meeting. The proposed revisions were again discussed at the October 8, 2013 Section meeting. Based on comments and discussions, no changes were made to the proposed Standards. At the November 12, 2013 meeting, Section members voted to approve the proposed 2013 New Hampshire Title Examination Standards and requested that it be forwarded to the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Bar Association. On November 21, 2013, the Board of Governors adopted the Section’s recommendation as the 2013 New Hampshire Title Examination Standards, effective December 31, 2013.

The 2013 Title Examination Standards are electronically accessible by Section Members on the Real Property Law Section page of the New Hampshire Bar Association website (www.nhbar.org). Go to the Real Property Law Section Materials page, and then click on the link, “Title Standards,” to view the Standards. The 2013 Title Examination Standards are presented online in a “Clean” version and in a “Redline” digest version (the 2012 version with deletions in redlined strikeouts and additions in blue underlines). The 2013 Standards are also available for public access at www.nhbar.org 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” digest 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 2012 standards are noted with the year “2013” at the end of each revised Standard. Changes in topic heading, minor typographical errors or punctuation are not noted with the date 2013. New standards can be easily spotted as containing only one date: 2013. Copies of the 2013 “Clean” or “Redline” digest versions can be printed by the viewer if a hard copy is needed.

New changes to the Title Examination Standards can be easily searched online by using “2013” in the search field. The 2013 clean version of the Standards is posted online along with the 2012 redlined digest version, for ease of reference in identifying the 2013 changes.

The Bar Association website makes the 2013 Standards available online to members at no charge.

Highlights of Revisions

The Title Standards reflect the real estate standard of practice when dealing with an established title in the registry of deeds. The Standards are not intended to be a "how to" guide on conducting a current transaction. See Standard 1-1: "Purpose. The objective of the title examiner is to determine whether or not the title in question is satisfactory of record . . . ."

Substantive changes are noted with the year “2013” at the end of each revised or new Standard. Changes in topic heading, minor typographical errors or punctuation are not noted with the date 2013. New standards can be easily spotted as containing only one date: 2013. Additions are shown in double underlining; deletions are shown with strikethroughs.

The 2013 Title Examination Standards amend the 2012 Standards in a number of ways. Changes in statutes, case law and real estate practice have been noted. See, e.g., Recording in 1-4 and the new Note with a reference to a recent case; clarification of language in Standards 7-7 “Foreign Bequest” and 7-8 “Sale by Foreign Executor”; revision to Standard 9-29 to clarify that redemption should be via a release or deed by the creditor or purchaser to the debtor and be duly recorded.

The 2013 Title Examination Standards amend the 2012 Standards in a number of ways. Changes in statutes, case law and real estate practice have been noted. See, e.g., Recording in 1-4 and the new Note with a reference to a recent case; clarification of language in Standards 7-7 “Foreign Bequest” and 7-8 “Sale by Foreign Executor”; revision to Standard 9-29 to clarify that redemption should be via a release or deed by the creditor or purchaser to the debtor and be duly recorded.

New Standard 7-25 is added to address appropriate filings by a foreign entity. The Standard concerns “Sale by Foreign Guardian or Conservator” and references RSA 464-A:44 and addresses the need for a foreign guardian or conservator to file a petition or copy of the foreign appointment with the probate division of the circuit court in New Hampshire prior to selling property of the ward located in New Hampshire in the same manner as a resident guardian or conservator.

The 2013 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 “2013” in the search field. All past versions of the Standards (1954, 1963, 1974, 1980, 1988, 1990, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) are also posted online and searchable as well. Due to the online search capability, the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standards discontinue the use of the 1997 printed chart of changes, since the redlined digest text shows deletions and additions, and all prior standards are available online. The 2012 “Redline” version will remain online for ease of tracking the 2012 to 2013 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 listserve, direct requests for consideration from Section members as well as online on 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 2014 review year may be posted on the Real Property Law Section listserve with the Subject line: “2014 Title Standards Suggestions.” The Committee monitors issues arising on the listserve; at Section meetings or brought to its attention by individual Section members. The goal of the Committee’s annual review is to provide the Section with proposed revisions each year, if needed, in September on the Section’s listserve and at the September Section meeting; opportunity for discussion and comment during a 30-day Comment Period ending in early October; further discussion and revision, if needed, at the October meeting and Section vote at the November Section meeting. The Section’s recommendations once approved are recommended to the Board of Governors for adoption at their next meeting, usually held in late fall, with the adopted Standards effective as of December 31st of a given year.

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