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Methodology of Reviewing Title Data and Preparing the Title Opinion

William P. Pearce, Mineral Title Examination III (1992)

The primary thrust of this paper will be directed toward the practical matters of actually extracting title data from the records and organizing the information into a suitable format for a mineral title opinion, with emphasis on the use of the computer to expedite this process. At the outset, however, it is useful to take a few moments to consider the goals and purpose of reviewing title data, as this will be helpful in establishing the operating parameters of just what it is that we are attempting to accomplish in putting together a title opinion. With that concept in hand, it is possible to focus more clearly on the practical matter of reviewing title data and preparing a title opinion.


Nature of Title to Land

In order to focus on the methodology of reviewing title data, it is helpful to revisit briefly the theoretical basis underlying title to land. Since we are dealing with “title opinions,” the first question that comes to mind is what does “title” itself mean. In order to render an informed opinion about something we need to know precisely what is the subject matter of our opinion. “Title” has been variously defined in Anglo-American law, but the general emphasis is on title as “the evidence of right which a person has to the possession of property.”1 The nature of the abstract concept of “right” itself