Real Estate Title Insurance Review: Living Trusts, Probate Estates

Another one from Greg that got me thinking about what we do here in our office with regards to title insurance on real property in differnece circumstances…

Greg’s post is a good one in that it gets one thinking about what one should think about/do when choosing to fund their living trust with real property, namely, does the homeowners’ policy allow a trust to be the owner, should it be added as an ‘additional insured’, should you call the insurance company? etc…

It also got me thinking about a number of estates that I’m administering right now that have real property that has to be probated…  First thing to do is add the estate as an additional insured – a no-brainer there – but an even bigger concern arises if the home will be left vacant as a result of the decedent’s passing.  Most homeowners’ insurance policies require the home to be occupied and if the home is left unoccupied (usually for 90 consecutive days) then the coverage can automatically lapse.  A call into the insurance company to let them know is usually a good idea and, given the state of the market and how long a home is likely to sit there before a sale, the company will have to find out eventually…  And 90 days comes pretty quick.

An experienced probate attorney is your safest bet…  I’ve worked recently with some attorneys who are, no doubt, very skilled in their area of regular practice, but probate drives them crazy and they miss these little things.  Its just these type of “little things” that get massive quick when the house is broken into or damaged by a storm or (god forbid) burns down (<– all of which have happened to me by the way) and the insurance carrier won’t pay. 

Nightmare.  Don’t risk it.  Call someone who knows what they’re doing.

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