More than any other type of property, real estate is subject to creditor liens. Over the course of time, as title to a given piece of land moves from one person to another person, the owner changes, and thus so too do the amount of potential claims which may be levied against the land. Common examples of such claims include mortgages, tax liens, mechanic liens, judgment creditor liens, and even debts arising out of automobile loans, credit cards, or traditional lines of credit. It is easy to see, then, that a specific real estate title may be subject to a variety of different interests and claims, particularly over a long period of time. How does one resolve these title issues?
Judicially, the easiest way to do so this is to file a quiet title action pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute 527.150. In such an action, a person who has any title, estate, or interest in real estate may petition the Court to determine how many individuals have an interest in the real estate, and whether such interests are in fact legal/valid. All known claimholders must be named as a Defendant. Additionally, a lis pendens notice must be filed with the recorder of deeds to apprise unknown claimants of the suit; and the recorder of deeds will also forward a notice of publication to a local newspaper to provide further/additional notice.
The length of the quiet title proceeding depends on whether the matter is contested. Uncontested matters can last merely a few months, while full-blown contested cases can (and usually do) last in excess of a year.
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