Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Title Insurance Claims

Sarah Holdener

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed an increase in title insurance claims as the housing market has soured.  One title industry expert suggested many of the recent claims have involved fraud, forgery, and other factors that are more often seen when loans are made to borrowers in financial distress.  

If the article made you a little nervous about deals you have recently closed or loans you’ve made, take heart in the following short list of potential title defects that may be covered by a title insurance policy, subject to some limitations:

1. Forged deeds, mortgages, satisfactions or releases, including forged notarization or witness acknowledgements.
2. Deed not properly recorded (in the wrong county or missing key elements).
3. Deed by a person who is insane or mentally incompetent.
4. Deed by minors (which may be disavowed).
5. Deed from a corporation or partnership, unauthorized under the corporate bylaws or partnership agreement, or given under falsified corporate resolution.
6. Deed from purported trustee, unauthorized under the trust agreement.
7. Claims resulting from the use of an alias or fictitious name by a predecessor in title.
8. Deed challenged as being given under fraud, duress, or undue influence.
9. Deed executed under a falsified or expired power of attorney.
10. Deed affecting property purported to be separate property of the grantor, which is in fact community or jointly owned property.
11. Undisclosed divorce of grantor who conveys as sole heir of a deceased former spouse.  
12. Deed affecting property of a deceased person, without joining all the heirs.
13. Deed following administration of the estate of a missing person, who later reappears.
14. Conveyance by heir or survivor of a joint estate who murdered the decedent.  
15. Misinterpretation of wills, deeds or other instruments.
16. Discovery of a will of supposed intestate individual, after probate, or discovery of a later will after probate of first will.
17. Ineffective release of prior mortgage or lien as fraudulently obtained by a predecessor in title.
18. Deed recorded, but not properly indexed so as to be locatable in the land records.
19. Undisclosed but recorded items such as federal or state tax liens, environmental liens, liens for spousal or child support, prior mortgages, options or rights of first refusal, notices of pending lawsuits, easements, boundary, party wall or setback agreements.
20. Erroneous or inadequate legal descriptions.

This is just a short list of potential title claims that are covered by a title insurance policy.  For information about catching potential title problems before the deal closes see our earlier Title Tips on Fraud in Real Estate Transactions and Red Flags of Forgery on our website at

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Sarah Holdener, Esq.
General Counsel,
VP Production

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

Save the Date!

Our Glen Carbon branch has been serving you for 2 years.   Mark October 4th on your calendar and plan to join us for drinks and hors d'oeuvres from 5:00 - 7:00pm in our Glen Carbon office to celebrate the occassion.  Please RSVP to 618-288-1695 or by email to Sara at, or Bethany at  We hope to see you there!

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