A property abstract is a collection of legal documents that chronicles activities associated with a particular parcel of land. Generally included are references to deeds, mortgages, wills, probate records, court litigations and tax sales--basically, any essential legal documents that affect the property. The abstract will also show the names of all property owners and how long a particular holder owned it, as well as showing the price the land was exchanged for when it changed owners. Rarely will an abstract mention capital improvements to the property. Property abstracts are considered good starting places for research on historical buildings.
Abstract of title
An abstract of title is the condensed history of title to a particular parcel of real estate, consisting of a summary of the original grant and all subsequent conveyances and encumbrances affecting the property and a certification by the abstractor that the history is complete and accurate. In the United States, the abstract of title furnishes the raw data for the preparation of a policy of title insurance for the parcel of land in question, except for in Iowa, where a Title Guaranty policy is issued instead of title insurance.
An abstract of title should be distinguished from an opinion of title. While an abstract states that all of the public record documents concerning the property in question are contained therein, an opinion states the professional judgment of the person giving the opinion as to the vesting of the title and other matters concerning the status of the chain of title. Many jurisdictions define the giving of an opinion of title as the practice of law, thus making it unlawful for a non-attorney to do so.
- Information about Property Abstracts, Archives, Genealogy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- "Abstract of Title". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
- "Abstract of title". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911
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