Oklahoma has several statutory curative methods that can be relied on to cure minor defects in the chain of title. An experienced Oklahoma Title Attorney can save their client time and money simply by knowing and applying the correct legal standards.
Oklahoma Marketable Title Act:
“Any person having the legal capacity to own land in this state, who has an unbroken chain of title of record to any interest in land for thirty years or more, shall be deemed to have a marketable record title to such interest … [.]” A person shall be deemed to have such an unbroken chain of title when the official public records disclose with nothing appearing of record, in either case, purporting to divest such claimant of such purported interest during the thirty-year period.
The Oklahoma Marketable Title Act can be relied upon to cure most older defects in the chain of title, though, careful consideration must be used when applying it to tracts where severed mineral interests exist.
Under the Marketable Title Act, the unbroken chain must begin with a qualifying “Root of Title.” Root of Title is a conveyance or other title transaction in the chain of title which creates the interest claimed by the person claiming ownership in the land. The Root of Title must be recorded for at least thirty (30) years to qualify under the Marketable Title Act. The effective date of the “root of title” is the date on which it is recorded.
There are several types of transactions that may be used as a “Root of Title”:
- title by will or descent,
- title by tax deed,
- mineral deed,
- lease or reservation, or by
- trustee’s, referee’s, guardian’s, executor’s, administrator’s, master in chancery’s, sheriff’s or marshal’s deed, or decree of any court, as well as
- warranty deed, quitclaim deed, or mortgage.
Instruments Recorded for Five Years Valid Notwithstanding Defect:
Code section §16 O.S. 27(a) creates a rebuttable presumption that allows Oklahoma Title Attorneys to rely on certain instruments that would otherwise be defective, as long as they have been of record more than five years. Below is an example of issues addressed by the statute that are most often encountered within a chain of title.
- Any defect in the execution, acknowledgement, recording or certificate of recording, including a total lack of acknowledgement;
- A signatory not authorized to execute the instrument on behalf of the legal entity;
- A Power of Attorney has not been filed for an Attorney-in-Fact executing an Instrument.
A thorough understanding of the Oklahoma Title Standards will provide an experienced Oklahoma Title Attorney the ability to navigate many common title issues, and save both time and money for their client.
Mazurek & Holliday PC is a full-service oil gas and energy law firm focused on meeting the energy law needs of our clients throughout the United States. If you have any questions about this topic or any that affect your energy rights, contact our offices.
Contributor, Graham M. Smith