Bulletin: MN000004

Date:
October 15, 2003
To:
All Minnesota Issuing Offices
RE:
Minnesota 2003 Legislative Session Results

Dear Associates:

Minnesota's budget deficit woes headlined as the key issue for the 2003 Minnesota Legislature.  After the dust settled, it turned out that the two houses also had time to address other issues.  As it relates to title and real estate, the following is a subjective snapshot of the top bills passed (or defeated) during this tempestuous last session.  All references to chapters of the session laws can be read in their full-text version at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/.  Likewise, the full text of the Minnesota Statutes can be found on-line at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats.

  • No More Affidavits of Purchaser!  Chapter 5.

The Torrens office will no longer require an Affidavit of Purchaser for title transfers after August 1, 2003.  Future Certificates of Title will not recite whether the owner is 18, is married or is under any legal incapacity.  For those new certificates, title examiners will have to determine the marital status of parties the same way as for abstract property.

  • Ramsey County Now to Memorialize a Notice of Adverse Claim?  Chapter 5.

The language for filing a Notice of Adverse Claim ("NAC") on Torrens property has been revised.  With this change, it should be possible to register an NAC in Ramsey County .  The NAC ceases to be notice unless some further action is taken within ten years from filing.  Minn. Stat. Sec. 508.70.  Priority of an unregistered interest will, when registered, relate back to the time of NAC filing.  Look for a new uniform form to match the statutory changes and a possible name change to "claim of unregistered interest".

  • Medical Assistance Liens:  Bringing the Dead Back to Life!  Chapter 14, S.S.

With the passage of the Omnibus Health and Human Services Bill, the Department of Human Services has significantly expanded its reach to redefine asset transfer and recovery.  Now the DHS can file a valid medical assistance lien ("MA lien") on the interests of deceased joint and life tenants (and that can attach to those interests as held by the surviving parties).  The new improved lien (for those dying after August 1, 2003 ) will survive for 20 years from the later of the date of filing or date of death.  The MA liens will have to be filed within one year of death to be valid.  Fortunately, the new MA lien will not attach to a surviving joint tenant's interest in their homestead. 

  • Electronic Recording is a Fact.  Chapter 1, S.S.

The 50 cents added to the recording fee two years ago (and last year, for Torrens ) has been officially appropriated for use by the electronic real estate recording task force and the pilot projects underway in some counties.  Dakota County recorded their first official electronic satisfaction on May 27, 2003 (and the total count increases each day); certificates of release are expected soon.  Can electronic humans be far behind? 

  • 60-Day Limit for Government Approvals.  Chapter 41.

Under Minnesota Statutes Section 15.99, political subdivisions have been required to approve or deny a written request related to zoning, septic or other governmental approval of an action within 60 days (or the request is otherwise deemed to be approved).  Chapter 41 modified the terms of this statute and, among other things, allows an applicant to request an extension of the 60-day time limit in writing. 

  • Private Examiner of Titles.  Chapter 54.

Under Minn. Stat. Sec. 508.12, subd. 1, Examiners of Title ( Torrens property) are county employees except where the county has less than 75,000 inhabitants (with specific exceptions for Stearns, Dakota and Olmsted counties).  Now Scott and Wright Counties have been added to the exception list.  The burgeoning populations of these two counties over the 75,000 mark will not mandate that the post of Examiner be internal.

  • Baytown Special Well Construction Area.  Chapter 128.

For sales of Washington County real property (where the property is not served by a municipal water system or there is an unsealed well), the seller must disclose in writing whether the property is located in a special well construction area.  This law relates to the Baytown Special Well Construction Area, a large area of polluted groundwater in Washington County.

  • Good Ideas on the Cutting Room Floor:  Purchase Money Mortgage Revision. 

The MLTA/MRESA Legislative Committee had proposed an amendment to the purchase money mortgage provision (Minnesota Statutes Section 507.03) to clarify some confusion raised by the case of Newton v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc., 646 N.W.2d 888 (Minn.App. 2002).  To paraphrase the original proposal in the Senate bill, where any part of a mortgage was used as purchase money, the entire mortgage was to be treated as a purchase money mortgage.  The purchase money language was pulled at the last minute before passage; however, it may well be revived for another run in the next legislative session.  Stay tuned.

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.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None