If you are like many people across the state of Texas, a significant portion of your personal wealth is likely tied up in your real estate holdings, whether you own just a basic family home or a ranch with substantial acreage. Protecting your ownership of that property involves maintaining the title until such time as when you choose to transfer the property to someone else.
Sometimes, particularly in circumstances involving deed transfers due to an estate or a divorce, homeowners need to initiate quiet title civil court proceedings to remove a mark from the deed to their property. In some cases, such actions are also necessary to remove liens that were already paid in full to a company that no longer exists or a person who won’t remove the lien on their own for some reason.
People also sometimes initiate quiet title action when there is a dispute regarding the boundaries or conflicting property surveys, as well as outright errors on the deed to the real estate in question. Such proceedings can make it easier for you to transfer ownership of the property into a trust or to start the process of getting the title ready for a future listing of the property while also protecting your current ownership interest.
How do quiet title proceedings work?
Essentially, quiet title proceedings involve the property owner or their attorney demonstrating to the courts that they have already resolved outstanding claims to the title and that certain liens or other blemishes on the title for the property warrant removal at this point.
The person who wants to clear the title will be the plaintiff, while those with liens or a theoretical claim to the property will be the defendants. If the plaintiffs do not respond or show up to the court date, the plaintiff in the case will secure a victory by default. If the defendants respond, the plaintiff will need to convince the court that they and they alone have the right to hold the title on the property.
The first step in this process typically involves gathering documentation, whether you will need to prove that you have paid off a lien or that someone authorized the sale of the property and received proceeds from a purchase or sale in the past. Receipts and a variety of other documentation can help you affirm that you have already resolved creditor claims or liens against the property.
The better your documentation regarding transfers, payments, liens and other claims people have made against your property, the easier it will be to convince the courts to remove liens and blemishes from the title to your property. Doing so now, rather than later, will leave you in a much better position to secure title insurance and transfer the title to someone new in the future.