An approved attorney is a lawyer who, has been authorized to examine titles to real estate (from the abstracts or public records), to issue opinions of title for the use of the Company and its agents, and in some cases, to close real estate transactions on behalf of the Company and its agents. Approved attorneys have knowledge and expertise in the field of real estate law, familiarity with title insurance practices, and professional integrity.
The Company or its agents may utilize an approved attorney in one of the above mentioned capacities. The approved attorney is not an agent of the Company, and is not authorized to issue commitments or title insurance policies.
In general, an approved attorney is concerned with the legal aspects of title examination, and the Company or its agents do the underwriting. The Company provides a list of approved attorneys in a certain county or city to the Company's agents for the purpose of title examination or closing of real estate transactions.
Agents decide when it is necessary to use approved attorneys to examine title or to close a real estate transaction. In these cases, agents fully assume the payment of the approved attorney's fees.
The Company appoints approved attorneys in all those locations where it has neither a branch office nor an agency. The Company furnishes each approved attorney with forms for certifying land title examinations.
One form covers the original or initial examination of the title and is called an attorney's opinion of title or preliminary report of title. The second is known as an attorney's final opinion of title and covers up to the time of recording the instruments to be insured.
The manner in which these forms are to be completed is almost self-explanatory. It is common for approved attorneys to be asked to attach copies of all the liens, encumbrances, and restrictions that affect title.