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.



Liens imposed by municipalities on real estate which has been directly benefited by municipal improvements such as the construction of streets, sidewalks and sewer lines. Such liens secure payment of the proportionate costs of such improvements.


A type of offbeat easement which is not attached to a dominant estate and is in the nature of a personal right rather than an interest in real estate. It is not assignable or inheritable.


Immature; not fully developed; an early stage; incomplete; only partially existing. An inchoate right of dower held by a wife matures and becomes exercisable only upon the death of her husband.


Having no material substance or form, but existing in the eyes of the law.


Insurance against possible loss or damage. A title insurance policy is a contract of indemnity.


A deed or other real estate contract executed between two or more parties.


(1) An alphabetical listing in the public records of the names of parties to recorded real estate instruments together with the book and page number of the record. (2) The listing in abstract and title plants of recorded real estate instruments in groups according to land descriptions, known as a geographic index. (3) The alphabetical listing in abstract and title plants, by names of the parties, of all recorded instruments which affect but do not describe particular real estate, such as judgments, powers of attorney, wills and probate proceedings. Such indexes are known by various names such as General Index, Judgment Index, and Name Index.


The right or permission to enter; also the means or place of entry such as a right of way across adjoining land.


A real estate purchase agreement providing for the payment of the purchase price in several successive payments such as monthly payments.


Any written document by which something is done regarding rights or interests in real estate.


One that insures, sometimes called an underwriter, such as a title insurance company.


Estates, rights, or legal claims in and to real estate.


Dying without leaving a legal will.