There have been many commercials and some news stories about people having their homes stolen. The narrative in these stories typically goes that a thief finds the title to your home by locating it online or hacking into it. According to this story, the thief then steals the title, forges documents, and end up owning your home, either having you evicted or mortgaging it.
This is a problem known as title theft, and multiple companies have recently emerged onto the landscape promising to help people by monitoring the title. In order for a thief to be able to accomplish this, they would need to find the title to your home online. In certain states, recorded documents like deeds are a matter of public record, and many counties have this information online.
A new deed could be forged when someone finds this information and then could be used to steal your home. However, a forged deed doesn’t necessarily convey the title to the home, but it could cloud the title on home making it problematic for you to pass it on to your loved ones in the future.
In most cases the state will require additional forms and filings to accompany a transfer of a title, and there’s plenty of information that must be submitted on these forms in order for it to be readily available for someone who is attempting to steal the title. Before passing on a piece of real property, it is important to understand how titling issues can impact transfer.
Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss all of the different ways that you can protect your home and ensure a smooth transfer of it in the future.