Abstract & Torrens
Abstract title property is the most common form of title found in the United States. An abstract of title is a condensed history
of all deeds, mortgages and other documents relating to a particular piece of land, which affect the title. If parts of the original parcel of land have been sold, the deeds are included in the abstract.
When property is sold or mortgaged the lending institution or new owner wants to be sure the title is clear. If the title isn't clear the lending institution may not be able to foreclose, if need be, or the owner may not be able to mortgage or sell the property.
An attorney or title insurance firm is hired to review the abstract. This is done by following the various lines of ownership from person to person and deed to deed over the years, matching mortgages with releases, etc.
Torrens is a system for registration of land under which, upon the landowner's application, the Court may, after appropriate proceedings, direct the issuance of a certificate of title. The Certificate of Title, is kept in the office of the Registrar of Titles.
With the "abstract system" an abstract is evidence of title. In the "Torrens system" the certificate of title is the title.
In Minnesota the County Recorder is the Registrar of Titles. The Registrar is an arm of the District Court and under its control. The Registrar must examine documents presented and determine that they meet the legal requirements to transfer the property and issue Certificates of title, which are proof of ownership for the purchaser.
The Registrar also works closely with the Examiner of Titles. The Examiner is appointed by the court and is an advisor to the Registrar of Titles. In Waseca County the Examiner of Titles is:
Patton Hoversten & Berg
215 East Elm Avenue
Waseca, MN 56093