A Word About Title Language

The title industry has its own language. Many of its words and idioms are derived from the language of the law while others are common words given special meaning related to land titles. There are also words and phrases coined over the years by the title industry itself.



An abbreviation of the cardinal aspects of all recorded deeds, mortgages, leases and other instruments affecting the title to a particular piece of land.


(Also known as Abstract Extension and also as Supplemental Abstract.) A partial abstract beginning at the terminal date of an existing abstract and showing instruments recorded between such terminal date and a subsequent date.


Just a longer name for an abstract.


There are a hundred different types. Basically, it is an index of the recorded instruments in a county or political subdivision geographically grouped according to land description so that all of the instruments affecting a piece of land can be immediately found under the indexed heading of such land. (See also “Title Plant”)


The person or company engaged in making abstracts.


A certificate appearing at the end of an abstract in which the abstracter states the time period and scope of the search made for instruments among the public records. In some states, it has the effect of limiting the abstracter’s liability.


The process of making and compiling an abstract.


To touch or border upon. A piece of land bordering on a street or an adjoining piece of property is said to abut such street or property.


A natural increase of land along the shores of a body of water.


(1) Generally, the act of the maker or makers of a real estate instrument in going before a Notary Public or other judicial officer and acknowledging that they signed such instrument without fear or compulsion, and for the purposes expressed in such instrument. The laws making provision for acknowledgments incident to real estate papers were enacted to help prevent forgeries or undue advantage taken over the makers of such instruments. Forms and procedures incident to acknowledgments vary from state to state, some being considered probate procedures in which the probity or authenticity of the instrument is proven.

(2) Generally, a form of certificate made by a notary public or judicial officer, appended to deeds, mortgages, leases and other real estate instruments, certifying that the maker or makers of such instruments appeared before the notary or judicial officer and acknowledged that they signed the instrument without compulsion or fear and for the purposes indicated in the instrument.


To pay the debts and wind up the business of a deceased person’s estate. Also, to handle and dispose of properties of an estate by an executor, administrator or trustee in conformity with legal procedures and provisions of wills or trust instruments.


A person appointed by a probate court to administer the estate of a person who dies intestate; that is without leaving a will.


The unauthorized occupation of land belonging to another, by a person who does not have the consent of the owner. Said occupier is said to hold possession adversely to the rights and interests of the owner. In most states, by operation of law, title to the land becomes vested in such occupier after a fixed number of years of peaceful occupancy.


A written statement made under oath before a notary public or other judicial officer.