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Title & Escrow News and Information

We are pleased to announce that John Kirkpatrick has joined the Ticor Title team in Lynnwood!

A Seasoned Professional

Like many professionals, John Kirkpatrick was led into the world of title and escrow in his early 20s by a family member. While his first role served it's purpose for him at the time, it was not long before a simple "job" turned into a passionate career. With a drive and motivation to show the world what the meaning of true customer service and responsiveness can be, John's career grew exponentially. During his nearly 15 year career, John has held titles such as Customer Service Manager, Centralized Services Manager, Director of Sales Operations, and Business Development Manager.

A Passion for Excellence

While being inside the office supporting his teammates has been extremely rewarding, in recent years John felt a calling to be in the field connecting and building meaningful relationships with clients directly. John is driven by an overwhelming desire to prove to this industry that top-notch customer service is not a thing of the past. Through commitment and dedication to his craft, he strives to build trust and long-lasting partnerships with his clients. John's refreshing authenticity and sense of camaraderie builds solid foundations in which relationships flourish. He wears his heart on his sleeve, his clients see his passion, and they connect with him on a truly genuine level.

John Kirkpatrick

AVP/Sales Executive
425-599-9015
john.kirkpatrick@ticortitle.com
19020 33rd Ave W Suite 550
Lynnwood, WA 98036

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Please join us in welcoming John to the Ticor Title Family!

There are times when a minor is in title. Maybe the deed from Mom & Dad says “Susan B. Jones, a minor.” Or, when she shows up to sign papers, the Realtor® notices the nanny who brought her in. Of course, a child can inherit property. The parents never intended for the child to own it so soon, but it happens.

Are there problems with minors in title?

Most of us know there may be a problem, but what is it, exactly? Can little Suzie even be in title? Can she convey or mortgage the property? How?

Well, yes a minor can be in title, and it happens all the time. That’s not the problem – if she doesn’t want (or need) to sell or mortgage the property now, she will eventually be old enough to do something with it.

But until Suzie reaches the legal age of majority, she is under a type of “disability” because she lacks the capacity to enter in to binding contracts. If she signs title away when she is 17, she can disavow it when she reaches the age of majority and for some time thereafter.

What if a minor needs to sell or mortgage the property?

The only way for Suzie to sell or take out a mortgage is for someone to go to court, open a guardianship, appoint a guardian, get a court order authorizing the transaction, and have the guardian execute the deed or mortgage. Also, if a guardian has been appointed in another state, an ancillary court proceeding will be needed because the foreign court does not have jurisdiction in Washington.

All this can be expensive and time consuming and pretty onerous if the transaction has to happen now. But, there is no alternative – the horse is already out of the barn, so to speak. The conveyance to Suzie (or her inheritance) can’t be undone.

Other ways for a minor to own real estate

There are other more practical ways to deal with children owning real estate.  One is a trust, where title is conveyed to the trustee of the trust, or the trust is set up in a probate. In that case, the title company will need to see the trust document or the will.

A custodianship pursuant to RCW 11.114 is a simple alternative. In that case, title is conveyed to an adult of legal age: “John Paul Jones, as custodian for Susan B. Jones, under the Washington Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.” The statute provides for only one custodian per child per deed, and a trust company can be named as well, if the trust permits it. It used to be called the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, and you might see this recital in a deed coming from another state. A deed can be accepted from a custodian in any state, which need only recite the adult custodian, the custodianship and the name of the minor.

When title is vested in a custodian, title insurers do not need to call for any proof of authority or documentation. This is an advantage of a custodianship over a guardianship for all concerned. Acknowledgments for a custodian would be for the adult individual, because there is no documentation to present to the notary, while a guardian would use the representative capacity (for a fiduciary) form.

Of course, during the custodianship the adult has a fiduciary responsibility to the minor, and can’t dispose of or use the assets for personal gain. The money from a sale of a house would still belong to the minor. But third parties, including title companies, don’t need to question where the money will end up.

What happens when the minor reaches legal age?

Once the minor reaches 18, 21 or in some cases 25 years of age (it all depends on the circumstances of the transfer), the custodian is to convey the property to the minor. But as an adult she can deal with the property in her own name. With a guardianship, the court action needs to be closed, and the property distributed to the minor.  A custodianship is a convenient way for a minor to hold title, but there can be estate planning and taxation ramifications when children own real estate. An attorney should always be consulted if a minor is or will be in title.


Custodian

Washington has adopted the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This is the most practical way for minors to “own” property. There is no document or agreement. The statute deals with the responsibility of the custodian to the child. Otherwise, you can have a…

Trust

A trust can be set up for a minor, either separately or by language in a will. The trustee can also transfer property to a custodian (who can even be the trustee) if the trust permits it. But if there is no trust or custodianship, you need a…

Guardian

A guardianship is often what happens when both parents are deceased without making provisions for how a minor child can deal with property. It’s not absolutely necessary unless real property must be sold or mortgaged, but a court must approve any real estate transaction.

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Minors in title to real estate
Minors to Title in Real Estate

Seller Finances the Purchase

A land contract is an installment contract in which the seller finances the purchase. The seller maintains the deed until satisfaction. It is comparable to owner financing. The buyer gives the seller a down payment and the seller acts as a bank; financing the balance of the purchase or sale price.

The interest rate is negotiated by the parties

The interest rate is negotiated and set by the parties involved. Land contracts can be created on or used on most types of property such as residential, land only, mobile home with land, commercial, mixed use.

During the Course of a Land Contract

The buyer has possession of and equitable title to the property while the seller holds legal title. If desired, the buyer may assign and convey his/her (buyer’s) interest in this contract or any part thereof, provided, however, that such assignment or conveyance shall not impair the seller’s security in the Premises. Once the contract is in effect and for the duration thereof, the buyer will be responsible for all taxes and assessments.

The seller conveys legal title by way of a Statutory Warranty Fulfillment Deed to the buyer when the contract is paid in full and all terms are fulfilled free and clear of any liens or encumbrances other than taxes and assessments for the current year.

Now that you're ready to buy or sell a home it's time to close the deal. But what does that really mean? What happens at closing and how long does it take? Well the process varies depending on your location, but here's a general overview of what you can expect at closing.

Escrow's Role in a Real Estate Transaction

As your Escrow Closing Team, we will follow the terms of your Purchase and Sale Agreement, and use these instructions to complete the transfer of the property from Seller to Buyer.

We'll ensure that any items on your title commitment have been cleared, prior to closing. We also maintain a detailed accounting of all the finances involved with the purchase of your property. Most importantly, we prepare the legal documents that transfer ownership, from Seller to Buyer.

Escrow carries out instructions per the terms of sale

It all starts when a buyer and seller agree on the terms of sale and ends four to eight weeks later at closing. In the middle, all kinds of stuff happens to make sure the terms of sale are met. It's the kind of stuff you're thankful someone else does while you're getting ready to move.

Then at closing, the escrow officer confirms the terms of sale are met, makes sure the funds are distributed, the deed is recorded, and the keys are delivered. if you're the buyer, this is when you finally get possession of your house.

Closing the sale of a home doesn't have to be mysterious! find out more about how it works with the resources below.

Related Articles

Services that Escrow Provides & What to Expect at Closing Escrow Workflow – 12 Steps to Closing with the TRID Forms Funds and Proceeds – Tips for a Successful Escrow Closing

Be Aware Early of Matters & Exceptions to Coverage

A Title Commitment provides a list of the matters which will be shown as exceptions to coverage in a designated policy or policies of title insurance, if issued concurrently, covering a particular state or interest in land. It is designated to provide a preliminary response to an application for title insurance and is intended to facilitate the issuance of the designated policy or policies.

Since these exceptions may point to potential problems with an intended purchase, it is important for all parties to review the report once it is received.

It is normally prepared after application (order) for such policy(ies) of title insurance on behalf of the principals to a real property transaction. The Title Commitment states on its face that it is made solely to facilitate the subsequent issuance of a title insurance policy and that the insurer assumes no liability for errors in the report. Accordingly, any claim arising from a defect in title must be made under the title policy and not the Title Commitment.

If a title policy is not contemplated, a Title Commitment should not be ordered. Instead, consideration should be given to requesting a Subdivision Guarantee Report or other similar title product.

After a title order has been placed, matters relative to the title policy coverage on the subject property are assembled in a title search package and examined by skilled technicians. This is when the Title Commitment is prepared and sent to the customer. The report contains relevant information so that the parties to the transaction will become aware of matters which will not be insured against by the title company.

This report is issued before the title policy, hence the name Title Commitment.