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.



The act of a person who falsely and fraudulently claims to be another person.


The forging, altering, or counterfeiting of a document, or knowingly making untruthful statements or misrepresentations.


The highest degree of ownership which a person can have in real estate. An interest in real estate which gives the owner unqualified ownership and full power of disposition.


A political and economic system which prevailed in Europe based upon the relation of overlord to vassal. The feudal lord held paramount title to the land. The interest in land acquired by vassals was impermanent, and title always reverted to the lord upon the vassal’s death.


A person who bears a special relationship of trust, confidence, and responsibility to others, such as a trustee or agent.


In title industry parlance, this term relates to the delivery of real estate instruments to a recorder for recordings.


A mortgage having priority as a lien over any other mortgage or lien on the same property.


Personal property which is permanently attached to real estate such as plumbing fixtures. So long as a fixture is permanently attached, it is usually regarded as part of the real estate.


A legal proceeding for the collection of real estate mortgages and other types of liens on real estate, which results in cutting off the right to redeem the mortgaged property and usually involves a judicial sale of the property to pay the mortgage debt.


Land between the low water mark and high water mark, covered and uncovered by the ebb and flow of the tide.


(1) Money or a right which a person loses upon failure to perform an agreement, obligation, or duty. (2) The act of losing money or a right as described.


Fraudulently executed, counterfeited.


The fraudulent signing of another’s name to an instrument such as a deed or mortgage or check.


A deception deliberately practiced in order to obtain an unfair or unlawful gain. FRAUDULENT Obtained, performed, or characterized by deceit or fraud. FREEHOLD A life estate or a fee simple estate.