The Torrens Title and Proceedings in Minnesota
In Minnesota’s Torrens system, a “Torrens title” is granted by Court order at the completion of a title registration proceeding. Title is registered in the name of the owner, with a specific legal description. A new “source of title” is created, called a Certificate of Title.”
A “Torrens title” is quite different from the title determined by the abstract system. In Minnesota’s abstract system, a “Quiet Title action” is needed to clear up title problems. With abstract property, the most a Court order in a Quiet Title action will do is provide evidence of title to a future title examiner. In the Torrens system, on the other hand, title is actually registered in the name of the owner.
To begin the process of registration under the Torrens system, the property owner files an Application with the Court-appointed Examiner of Titles.
- The Application asks the Court to register title to the property.
- The owner may also ask the Court to register the boundaries of the property.
- The Application is filed with the Court and the County Recorder.
- Next, the Examiner of Titles reviews the abstract. If the Application also asks for boundaries to be established, the Examiner will also review a survey to assist in preparing a report.
- A survey should be done before the filing of the Application if the goal of the Application is to register the boundary.
The Examiner’s Report provides an opinion to the Court and applicant as to whether the applicant has a claim to title which may be registered. The report details any defects in title and the legal description and identifies the parties that must be a part of the registration process.
The Court then issues Summons to these necessary parties. If any party contests the Application, the Court will determine ownership, boundaries, liens and all other aspects of the dispute. If no party contests the Application, the Application will be granted by default.
At the conclusion of the proceeding, the Court issues an Order and Decree of Registration. The Order and Decree instructs the Registrar of Titles to issue a Certificate of Title in the owners’ name, including the legal description.
The legal description could be the description of record, or a new description as shown on the survey. The Order and Decree also lists any Memorials (on the back of the Certificate) such as liens or easements.
Six months following the date of the Order and Decree, the Certificate of Title cannot be challenged– even if someone later claims a mistake was made in the proceeding.