Certificates of title are issued as an alternative for title insurance. Stewart Title Guaranty, as a title insurer, does not issue certificates of title either directly or through its agents. The meaning, interpretation or extent of a certificate of title may vary with the geographical location of the property, but is generally defined as a statement of opinion prepared by a title company or an attorney concerning the status of a title to a parcel of real property based on an examination of specified public records. The general term "certificate of title", as used herein should not be confused with the "Certificate of Title" that is issued to a titleholder of land registered under a Torrens system.
A certificate of title does not guarantee title, but does certify the condition of the title as of the date the certificate is issued, on the basis of an examination of the public records maintained by the recorder of deeds, the county clerk, the county treasurer, the city clerk and collector and clerks of various courts of record. The certificate also includes records involving taxes, special assessments, ordinances, zoning, and building codes.
The benefited party under a certificate of title is ordinarily limited to the party requesting the certificate (e.g., purchaser, owner, or mortgagee). The preparer of the certificate is responsible only for negligence or other breach of duty in the preparation of the certificate.
Several bar associations have specifically found these certificates of title, unless issued by a local attorney, to constitute an unauthorized practice of law under the rationale that the certificate contains or expresses a legal opinion as to the manner in which title is vested.
No certificate of title bearing the name of the Company shall be issued.