When someone holds the title to a property in Florida, the holder has legal ownership of that specific property (either partial or full).
Florida courts have a special concern over the recording of land ownership and real estate transfers to guarantee the legitimacy of property ownership rights. Keep reading to find out the fundamentals of successful quiet title action in Florida.
Holding Title of Florida Property – Understanding the Concept
Under Florida law, state residents have different options to hold title to a property, such as sole ownership, joint ownership, tenancy in common, and tenancy by the entirety. Distinct ownership forms result in multiple estate planning and tax consequences.
It is possible to set up a trust to transfer the title of a property to the name of a trustee to benefit one or multiple beneficiaries. Entities may also hold title to Florida real estate properties, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships.
For example, a natural person may transfer the title of a property to a limited liability company (LLC) to protect the asset against personal creditors and avoid probate upon death.
What is a Clear Title?
A clear title is a property title with no liens, judgments, or any other issues that may jeopardize its ownership rights. Even though it is possible to purchase title insurance to protect a property against unknown claims and other unforeseen title issues, it will not “clear” the title.
The most effective way to establish a clear title in Florida is to work with an experienced title attorney to file a quiet title action in court.
Florida Quiet Title Action
A quiet title action is a civil lawsuit in which the owner of a property asks the court to declare a judgment terminating any unknown claims or ownership rights to the property’s title.
Once the judge declares the judgment to clear the title, the action removes all existing adverse claims and ownership interests affecting the property. Hence, the legal declaration signed by the judge renders the property as “quieted,” which clears the recorded chain of title from encumbrances, liens, and other clouds.
Please note that not all types of liens are removed with a quiet title action, such as federal tax liens and bank mortgage liens.
Filing a Successful Quiet Title Action in Florida – Attention to Detail
The result of a civil action for quiet title will depend on different factors, such as the number of parties involved in the parties, how difficult those parties are to locate, and whether any of the interested parties may raise defenses against the action.
After consulting with an expert attorney to identify whether a quiet title action is an ideal solution for his or her case, the plaintiff may file the suit in court. Any other interested parties with legit claims to the property must be served a notice.
In response, the served parties have 20 days to raise defenses, counting from the date of service. If it is not possible to locate an interested party, the notice must be published in a locally circulated newspaper for four consecutive weeks.
As long as there are no delays involved, a Florida quiet title action may require sixty days to complete. If one of the interested parties is difficult to locate, the process may require an additional month.