- August 14, 1996
- All Issuing Offices
- "Common Law Liens" and "Wild Documents" In The Chain Of Title
As many of you are aware, various "militia" groups and the like throughout the country, but especially in the western states, maintain that they are not subject to the statutory courts of the various states and the federal government. These groups have many names, such as the Republic of Texas, Republic of California, Posse Comitatis, and Freemen. These groups have created so-called "Constitutional Courts" which have issued judgments and various court orders directed against persons and institutions against which these groups believe they have a grievance and which are filed in the real property records. You will occasionally see affidavits which allege some ownership interest in property which the real estate records show as belonging to others. These "Wild Documents", although outside of the chain of title, are to be considered as clouds on the title. Copies of example documents are available from the National Legal Department.
If you discover one of these kinds of documents during a search and/or examination of title, you should follow these underwriting guidelines:
- The instrument must be shown as an exception in Schedule B, B-II or C. If
you are not issuing a commitment, you must communicate with the proposed insured
and disclose to the proposed insured that the instrument will be an exception
in the policy.
- Stewart Title Guaranty Company will consider providing some form of affirmative coverage on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your Stewart underwriter to determine what form of affirmative coverage, if any, can be given. Our fax number is 713-629-2248.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call. Please feel free to fax us copies of any "wild documents" you might discover.
THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.