There are two main flaws with the current title system. First, the ease of adding records into the system is convenient but allows for stale claims that have no value other than blocking a transaction years in the future. Second, other factors off the record may influence the possessory interest of a recorded property (adverse possession, nondelivery, fraud, etc.). Title standards, title curative acts, and marketable title acts are relevant attempts to improve on these flaws.

Title Standards

A title standard is a standard or rules utilized for how an attorney examines a title to see if a title is sufficient. The main purpose of the standard is to eliminate future objections based on technical and often minor details within the title. The logic is simple, if everyone follows the same standards, all the titles will be the same format and lack flaws. If there are flaws, they are easy to point out.

For instance, standards may address whether names spelled differently has an impact on the validity of the title; or the standards consider the attitudes of attorneys; etc.

United States v. Morales

36 F. Supp. 3d 1276 (D. Fla. 2014).


Whether the use of different names (maiden and married) impacts the validity of a deed.


If there is no question about whether the person with a different spelling or name is the same individual, the deed is valid.


Here, the deed is valid.

Facts and Analysis

In 2012 a jury convicted Luis E. Morales and the crimes were of a nature where the government could claim an interest in the property he owned during the crimes committed.

The property up for debate is owned by Linda Morales who purchased the property with her husband (Palfrey) when she was in a previous marriage (each sharing an interest). Once that marriage broke up, she obtained a quitclaim deed to the whole property under the name of Linda Morales.

Linda Morales later married Luis E. Morales. Later still, Linda became ill and transferred her interest to Luis under the name Linda M. Morales. When she recovered, the interest was transferred back to her under the name Linda M. (Palfrey) Morales.

Presently, Linda is arguing the government has no interest in Luis’s interest in the property because the deed transferred to him was never valid. This is because there were discrepancies in the name utilized during the transfers. However, the court rejects this argument because there is no question the person listed in the deed is in fact the same individual.

Title Curative Acts

When a recorded document has defects, the curative acts in essence “cures” these defects after a certain passage of time. That is, deeds with the defects are considered valid if not challenged within a specified period of time.

Marketable Title Acts

To remedy stale interests, a marketable title act limits the time a search needs to be conducted, typically either 30, 40, or 50 years. That is, the attorney only needs to look back 30–50 years (depending on the jurisdiction) for title defects. Anything older than that is considered invalid, thus making the title more likely to be marketable. There are exceptions to marketable title acts, most notably: interests of governments, railroad easements, mineral rights, and visible easements are still valid.

Matissek v. Waller

51 So. 3d 625

Matissek lost and appealed.


Whether the title covenants are extinguished on the property in question by the Marketable Record Titles to Real Property Act (MRTA).


Restrictions do not affect the property.

Facts and Analysis

In 1971, the developer platted a subdivision and created covenants where anyone building an airplane hanger on the property had to be made with masonry. There was also an amendment in 1977 but the same restriction stayed in place. Throughout time, property was transferred and only sometimes mentioned restrictions. Matissek purchased the property in 1995 (the deed did not mention any restrictions) and attempted to build a hanger with metal siding. Another resident complained.

According to the MRTA, marketable title is free of restrictions after 30 years unless reaffirmed in certain ways.

Matissek does not believe he is bound by these covenants because the 1971 covenants had expired and were not reaffirmed because the deeds did not specifically mention the restrictions or where they could be located. The court agreed. Additionally, the 1977 restrictions did not count because they were dependent on the 1971 restrictions.


The content contained in this article may contain inaccuracies and is not intended to reflect the opinions, views, beliefs, or practices of any academic professor or publication. Instead, this content is a reflection on the author’s understanding of the law and legal practices.

Will Laursen

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