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Home Closing 101
Do you know what to expect on closing day?
Most people don’t. And that can lead to some uneasiness. But help is here. The American Land Title Association, or ALTA, has created a website featuring information every homebuyer can use to help familiarize themselves with the closing process before walking into the closing

The Home Closing 101 Site
At Home Closing 101 you will find information you can use to prepare yourself for closing. The site covers topics such as title insurance, escrow fees and closing costs. So when the time comes to sign on the dotted line you’ll feel fully prepared.

Home Closing 101 is especially helpful for first time buyers. Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you’ll be going through it. Spend a little time on the site and you can walk through the home buying process, receiving explanations for each step and helpful hints on how to find the right people to help you on your journey to homeownership.

Click here to start learning about the home buying process.

What Is American Land Title Association (ALTA)?
Founded in 1907, ALTA is the national trade association and voice of the title insurance industry. ALTA members search, review and insure land titles to protect home buyers and mortgage lenders who invest in real estate.

ALTA members advocate safe and efficient transfer of real estate and insist on high standards when searching land title records and preparing insurance documents. The industry seeks to eliminate risk before insuring, which provides homebuyers with the best possible chance of avoiding land title problems. But, title difficulties can and do occur, and members offer both Owner’s and Lender’s title insurance policies as effective safeguards.

Click here to visit the ALTA website.

About Stewart Title Insurance
Stewart (NYSE: STC) is a leading provider of real estate services, including global residential and commercial title insurance, escrow and settlement services, lender services, underwriting, specialty insurance and other solutions that facilitate successful real estate transactions. Stewart offers personalized service, industry expertise and customized solutions for virtually any type of real estate transaction, through our direct operations, network of approved agencies and other companies within the Stewart family. Through a focus on integrity, smart growth and conservative management, Stewart remains committed to serving our customers, innovating and improving to meet their needs in an ever-changing market. 

Please click on the link below for more information:


Owning real estate is one of the most precious values of freedom in this country. You want the assurance that the property you are buying will be yours. Other than your mortgage holder, no one else should have any claims or restrictions against your home.

Title insurance is issued after a careful examination of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title faults are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search. Title insurance eliminates any risks and losses caused by faults in title from an event that occurred before you owned the property.

Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from a loss that may occur from matters or faults from the past. Other types of insurance such as auto, life, or health cover you against losses that may occur in the future. Title insurance does not protect against any future faults, but does protect you from risks or undiscovered interests. Another difference is that you pay a one-time premium for a policy that remains effective until the property is sold to a new owner - even if that doesn't occur for decades.

What is a Lender's Policy?

A lender's policy, also known as a loan policy or a mortgage policy, protects the lender against loss due to unknown title defects. It also protects the lender's interest from certain matters which may exist, but may not be known at the time of the sale.

This policy only protects the lender's interest. It does not protect the purchaser. That is why a real estate purchaser needs an owner's policy.

What is an owner's policy?

An owner's policy protects you, the purchaser, against a loss that may occur from a fault in the ownership or interest you have in the property. You should protect the equity in your new home with a title policy.

What does an owner's policy provide?

- Protection from financial loss due to demands that may be charged against the title to your home, up to the cost of the title policy.
- Payment of legal costs if the title insurer has to defend your title against a covered claim.
- Payment of successful claims against the title to your home covered by the policy, up to the cost of the policy.

Why the seller needs to provide title insurance?

Any purchaser will need evidence that his investment in your property is free of title defects. The title insurance policy that you provide the purchaser is a guarantee that you are selling a clear title to your real estate, unencumbered by any legal attachments that might limit or jeopardize ownership. It will reassure your purchaser that he or she is protected from any risks or losses and could help you close your deal.

Why the buyer needs title insurance?

Without title insurance, you may not be fully protected against errors in public records, hidden defects not disclosed by the public records, or mistakes in examination of the title. As a result, you may be held fully accountable for any prior liens, judgments or claims brought against your new property. If this should occur, your title policy insures that you will be defended at no cost against all covered claims up to the amount of the policy.

How much does title insurance cost?

The insurance commission approves and controls the premiums for title insurance policies. The premiums are paid only once and the cost depends upon the purchase price of the property and the policy amount must be equal to the purchase price.

What does title insurance protect from?

  • Fraud
  • Adverse possession
  • Rights of divorced parties
  • Deeds by minors
  • Undisclosed Heirs
  • Errors in tax records
  • False affidavits of death or heirship
  • Probate matters
  • Deeds and wills by persons of unsound mind
  • Conveyances by undisclosed divorced spouses
  • Forfeitures of real property due to criminal acts
  • Deeds by persons falsely representing their marital status
  • Documents executed by a revoked or expired Power of Attorney
  • Defective acknowledgements due to improper or expired notarization
  • Mistakes and omissions resulting in improper abstracting
  • Forged deeds, mortgages, wills, releases and other documents
  • False impersonation of the true land owner
Inheriting a property can be both a blessing and a challenge. Learn the essential steps and considerations to confidently navigate the process in this post by Stewart: Schutt Law in Fort Myers.

Inheriting a property is a significant life event that can come with a mix of emotions, from the sadness of losing a loved one to the excitement of gaining an asset. While it can be a blessing, it also involves several legal and financial considerations that may initially seem overwhelming. In this guide, we'll explore the key steps and essential considerations for a smooth inheritance process, from understanding the basics to navigating legal complexities.

Protect your inheritance with confidence! Discover the importance of a title search and secure your property rights. Contact Schutt Law in Fort Myers at (239) 540-7007 for expert title services today.

Understanding the Basics

Inheriting a property often follows the passing of a family member or loved one. During this emotionally challenging time, it's crucial to be aware of the fundamental aspects of the inheritance process. When someone passes away and leaves behind real estate, their property typically goes through a legal process known as probate. Probate is the court-supervised procedure for distributing the deceased person's assets, including real estate, to their heirs or beneficiaries.

The Role of a Will

The existence of a valid will can significantly impact the inheritance process. If the deceased individual had a will, it typically outlines their wishes regarding how their property should be distributed among the heirs or beneficiaries. The will also designates an executor, a person responsible for managing the estate and ensuring that the wishes outlined in the will are carried out. However, if the deceased person did not have a will, their property would be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession in their jurisdiction. The court will appoint an administrator to oversee the estate's distribution in such cases.

The Importance of a Title Search

One of the essential steps in the inheritance process is conducting a title search on the property you're inheriting. This involves thoroughly examining the property's title to confirm its legal ownership and to identify any existing liens, encumbrances, or other potential issues. A title search ensures that you receive a clear and marketable title to the property. A clear title is crucial for various reasons, including your ability to sell or finance the property in the future. The title search may also reveal any property rights, easements, or restrictions that could affect your ownership.

Tax Implications of Inheriting a Property

Inheriting a property may have tax implications, depending on the jurisdiction and the value of the property. In many cases, inherited property can receive a stepped-up basis for tax purposes, which means the property's value is adjusted to its fair market value at the time of the owner's death. This can reduce the potential capital gains tax liability when selling the property. However, consulting with a tax professional or attorney is essential to understand the specific tax laws and regulations that apply to your situation. They can help you navigate the tax implications and meet all necessary reporting requirements.

Don't let your inheritance be at risk. Ensure your property's title is precise and secure with Schutt Law in Fort Myers. Call us at (239) 540-7007 to learn more about our top-notch title services.

Legal Requirements and Probate Process

The probate process is a central component of inheriting a property and involves various legal requirements and steps. Here are some of the critical elements of the probate process:
  • Filing a Petition: The first step is to file a petition with the local probate court to initiate the probate process. This petition typically includes details about the deceased person, their will (if applicable), and a request for the court to appoint an executor or administrator.
  • Notice to Heirs and Beneficiaries: After the petition is accepted, the court will issue a notice to inform heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors about the probate proceedings. This provides an opportunity for interested parties to make claims or objections.
  • Inventory and Appraisal: The executor or administrator is responsible for inventorying the deceased person's assets, including the inherited property. An appraisal may be required to determine the property's fair market value.
  • Payment of Debts and Taxes: The estate's debts and taxes must be settled from the deceased person's assets before the remaining property is distributed to heirs or beneficiaries.
  • Distribution of Property: Once all debts, taxes, and expenses are paid, the remaining assets, including the inherited property, can be distributed to the designated heirs or beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or the laws of intestate succession.

Challenges and Disputes

Inheriting a property can sometimes lead to challenges and disputes, especially if multiple heirs or beneficiaries have conflicting interests. Some common challenges include disagreements over the property's value, the distribution of assets, or even concerns about the will's validity. Working with a qualified attorney specializing in estate and probate law is advisable to navigate such challenges. An experienced attorney can help mediate disputes, ensure that the inheritance process adheres to legal requirements, and provide guidance on resolving any complex issues that may arise.

Safeguard your family legacy with a thorough title search from Schutt Law in Fort Myers. Give us a call at (239) 540-7007 to get the peace of mind you deserve in your inheritance journey.