May 28, 2019
What Happens When Claims of Forgery Cloud Your Home’s Title?
It could only happen to you – or at least, that’s how it seems. Generally, you learned the bad news when you opened mail from an unknown attorney. Apparently, someone is alleging forgery associated with your real estate purchase. You are sick and concerned at the prospect of losing the title to your home.
On first glance, the reaction might seem a bit extreme. In Pennsylvania, the truth is that fraud causes tons of title issues for homeowners. In fact, forged documents represent a major concern.
You may already know the importance of buying title insurance. If you’re financing your home, the mortgage company will require you do so for their portion of the loan. However, if you’re able to make a real estate purchase for cash, you may decide to bypass the additional expense.
Title insurance doesn’t cost enough to warrant the prospect of someone coming to take your house from you. And, it can absolutely happen. Without title insurance, you may find yourself defending your ownership rights at your own expense.
Forgery at Settlement
Consider the following. You show up for the closing settlement and meet up with the seller. She and her boyfriend own the house you’re about to buy.
According to the female seller, her boyfriend couldn’t make it in person to the settlement. Nonetheless, he’s authorized her to make the transaction by signing over a power of attorney naming her. Notably, this is permissible under Title 20 of Pennsylvania law, specifically at § 5603(i),
You’re excited to move into your new home. In fact, you’re in the process of redecorating everything when you get the grim news. Apparently, the “couple” who sold you the house is no longer together. It appears the woman at the closing forged her boyfriend’s name on the power of attorney.
Not surprisingly, the male owner wants his share of what was his investment. If you didn’t buy title insurance, you’ll soon regret it.
The bottom line is that you could be faced with vacating your home. After all, you didn’t purchase it legally.
Title Theft as a Form of Forgery
In the meantime, other forms of forgery call for huge concern. According to a major credit agency, title fraud results in insurmountable losses. And, the frequency with which it occurs increases year after year.
You may recall reading news stories about this new wave of fraud. It begins with identity theft. If you’re the victim, someone steals your identity.
The next step involves transferring the title to your home to the names of the thieves. Of course, it’s essential that you have equity in your house. All things considered, how else can it be used as collateral to obtain other loans?
It may make take some time for the real owner to recognize the title theft. Ultimately, it will call for the involvement of law enforcement and the assistance of an experienced real estate attorney.
Claims of forgery can absolutely cloud your title. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we have the experience you need if you face issues with title fraud. Contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns.