20.12 United States Of America Policy Forms


Title Standards Prepared By The Department Of Justice

The United States Department of Justice published a guide for the preparation of title evidence in land acquisitions by the United States of America titled "Department of Justice Title Standards 2001".  The guide sets forth standards of title evidence which are acceptable to the United States in acquiring any interest in real estate, whether by purchase, condemnation, donation or exchange.

The ALTA U.S. Policy (1991) is an owner's policy, similar to the regular ALTA Owner's Policy, designed to insure title in the United States of America or a U.S. agency. This policy has an additional insuring provision insuring against loss or damage by reason of the failure of the title report or commitment to name any party who has interest in the land, which was disclosed by the public records immediately prior to the filing of the lis pendens or Declaration of Taking by the U.S. The policy does not insure the validity or sufficiency of the condemnation proceeding, and it contains a provision by which the Attorney General of the United States may undertake the defense of any claim, provided that certain notices and opportunities to suggest defenses are given to the Company.


Declaration Of Taking By United States Of America

The Federal Declaration of Taking Act (40 USC Sec. 258(a) et. seq.) provides for the vesting of title in the United States upon the filing of the "declaration of taking" and the deposit in court of the estimated compensation for the property.

It has been held that what the Federal Government takes by condemnation is determined as of the date of filing of the "declaration of taking."

The passage of title does not necessarily determine the date of "taking" of property by the Federal Government, however, where a "declaration of taking" is filed before entry into possession, the filing constitutes the "taking;" but where the government enters into possession before the filing of the declaration of taking, the entry into possession marks the "taking."