A mark, style, or designation; a distinctive appellation; the name by which anything is known. Thus, in the law of persons, a title is an appellation of dignity or distinction, a name denoting the social rank of the person bearing it; as "duke" or "count."
So, in legislation, the title of a statute is the heading or preliminary part, furnishing the name by which the act is individually known. It is usually prefixed to the statute in the form of a brief summary of its contents; as "An act for the prevention of gaming."
Again, the title of a patent is the short description of the invention, which is copied in the letters patent from the inventor's petition; e.g., "a new and improved method of drying and preparing malt."
The title of a book, or any literary composition, is its name; that is, the heading or caption prefixed to it, and disclosing the distinctive appellation by which it is to be known. This usually comprises a brief description of its subject-matter and the name of its author.
- defective title
- marketable title
- Marketable Title Acts
- merchantable title
- onerous title
- paramount title
Law of Trademarks
A title may become a subject of property; as one who has adopted a particular title for a newspaper, or other business enterprise, may, by long and prior usage, or by compliance with statutory provisions as to registration and notice, acquire a right to be protected in the exclusive use of it.
Real Property Law
The formal right of ownership of property. Title is the means whereby the owner of lands has the just possession of his property. The union of all the elements which constitute ownership. Full independent and fee ownership. The right to or ownership in land; also, the evidence of such ownership. Such ownership may be held individually, jointly, in common, or in cooperate or partnership form. One who holds vested rights in property is said to have title whether he holds them for his own benefit or for the benefit of another. Restatement, Second, Trusts, No. 2, Comment d.
See also deed
Every action, petition, or other proceeding has a title, which consists of the name of the court in which it is pending, the names of the parties, etc. Administration actions are further distinguished by the name of the deceased person whose estate is being administered. Every pleading, summons, affidavit, etc., commences with the title. In many cases it is sufficient to give what is called the "short title" of an action, namely, the court, the reference to the record, and the surnames of the first plaintiff and the first defendant.
See also caption
@ absolute title
As applied to title to land, an exclusive title, or at least a title which excludes all others not compatible with it. An absolute title to land cannot exist at the same time in different persons or in different governments.
See also fee simple.
@ adverse title
A title set up in opposition to or defeasance of another title, or one acquired or claimed by adverse possession.
- bond for title (bond)
@ title by accession
Title acquired by additions innocently acquired such as in the case of intermingling of another's property with one's own.
@ title by accretion
Title acquired by additions to one's property as in the case of deposits of soil from a stream.
- title by adverse possession (adverse possession)
Clear title, good title, merchantable title, marketable title, are synonymous;
"clear title" meaning that the land is free from incumbrances, "good title" being one free from litigation, palpable defects, and grave doubts, comprising both legal and equitable titles and fairly deducible of record.
See marketable title.
+ good title
Title which is free of defects and litigation and hence may be transferred to another.
@ clear title of record
@ clear record title
Clear title of record, or clear record title.
Title free from apparent defects, grave doubts, and litigious uncertainties, and is such title as a reasonably prudent person, with full knowledge, would accept. A title dependent for its validity on extraneous evidence, ex parte affidavits, or written guaranties against the results of litigation is not a clear title of record, and is not such title as equity will require a purchaser to accept.
+ clear title of record
Freedom from apparent defects, grave doubts, and litigious uncertainties. Such title as a reasonably prudent person, with full knowledge, would accept. Tull v. Milligan, 173 Okl. 131, 48 P.2d 835, 842.
See marketable title
@ covenants for title
Covenants usually inserted in a conveyance of land, on the part of the grantor, and binding him for the completeness, security, and continuance of the title transferred to the grantee. They comprise "covenants for seisin, for right to convey, against incumbrances, for quiet enjoyment, sometimes for further assurance, and almost always of warranty."
+ covenants for title
Covenants usually inserted in a conveyance of land, on the part of the grantor, and binding him for the completeness, security, and continuance of the title transferred to the grantee. They comprise covenants for seisin, for right to convey, against incumbrances, or quiet enjoyment, sometimes for further assurance, and almost always of warranty
- defective title
@ equitable title
A right in the party to whom it belongs to have the legal title transferred to him; or the beneficial interest of one person whom equity regards as the real owner, although the legal title is vested in another.
@ examination of title
- title search.
@ imperfect title
One which requires a further exercise of the granting power to pass the fee in land, or which does not convey full and absolute dominion.
@ lucrative title
In the civil law, title acquired without the giving of anything in exchange for it; the title by which a person acquires anything which comes to him as a clear gain, as, for instance, by gift, descent, or devise.
Opposed to onerous title, as to which see below.
@ onerous title
In the civil law, title to property acquired by the giving of a valuable consideration for it, such as the payment of money, the rendition of services, the performance of conditions, the assumption of obligations, or the discharge of liens on the property; opposed to "lucrative" title, or one acquired by gift or otherwise without the giving of an equivalent.
+ onerous title
A titte acquired by the giving of a valuable consideration, asthe payment of money or rendition of services or the performance of conditions or assumption or discharge of liens or charges
@ paper title
A title to land evidenced by a conveyance or chain of conveyances; the term generally implying that such title, while it has color or plausibility, is without substantial validity.
- paramount title
@ perfect title
Various meanings have been attached to this term:
(1) One which shows the absolute right of possession and of property in a particular person.
(2) A grant of land which requires no further act from the legal authority to constitute an absolute title to the land taking effect at once.
(3) A title which does not disclose a patent defect suggesting the possibility of a lawsuit to defend it; a title such as a well-informed and prudent man paying full value for the property would be willing to take.
(4) A title which is good both at law and in equity.
(5) One which is good and valid beyond all reasonable doubt.
(6) A marketable or merchantable title.
See marketable title.
@ presumptive title
A barely presumptive title, which is of the very lowest order, arises out of the mere occupation or simple possession of property (jus possessionis), without any apparent right, or any pretense of right, to hold and continue such possession.
@ quiet title
@ record title
See record
@ root of title
Root of title means that conveyance or other title transaction or other link in the chain of title of a person, purporting to create the interest claimed by such person, upon which he relies as a basis for the marketability of his title, and which was the most recent to be recorded or established as of a date forty years prior to the time when marketability is being determined. The effective date of the "root of title" is the date on which it is recorded.
@ singular title
The title by which a party acquires property as a singular successor
@ title by adverse possession or prescription
@ title by adverse possession
@ title by prescription
The right which a possessor acquires to property by reason of his adverse possession during a period of time fixed by law.
The elements of title by prescription are open, visible and continuous use under a claim of right, adverse to and with knowledge of owner. Dry Gulch Ditch Co. v. Hutton, 170 Or. 656, 133 P.2d 601, 610.
Such title is equivalent to a "title by deed" and cannot be lost or divested except in the same manner, and mere recognition of title in another after such acquisition will not operate to divest the adverse claimant of that which he has acquired. Maloney v. Bedford, 290 Ky. 647, 162 S.W.2d 198, 199
@ title by descent
That title which one acquires by law as heir to the deceased owner
@ title deeds
Deeds which constitute or are the evidence of title to lands.
See deed
@ title defective in form
Title on face of which some defect appears, not one that may prove defective by circumstances or evidence dehors the instrument. Title defective in form cannot be basis of prescription
- title insurance (See also insurance)
@ title of a cause
The distinctive appellation by which any cause in court, or other juridical proceeding, is known and distinguished from others.
@ title of an act
The heading, or introductory clause, of a statute, wherein is briefly recited its purpose or nature, or the subject to which it relates
@ title of clergymen (to orders)
Some certain place where they may exercise their functions; also an assurance of being preferred to some ecclesiastical benefice
@ title of declaration
That preliminary clause of a declaration which states the name of the court and the term to which the process is returnable
@ title of entry
The right to enter upon lands
@ title registration
@ title retention
A form of lien, in the nature of a chattel mortgage, to secure the purchase price. American Indemnity Co. v. Allen, for Use and Benefit of Commerce Union Bank, 176 Tenn. 134, 138 S.W.2d 445, 446
@ title to orders
In English ecclesiastical law, a title to orders is a certificate of preferment or provision required by the thirty-third canon, in order that a person may be admitted into holy orders, unless he be a fellow or chaplain in Oxford or Cambridge, or master of arts of five years' standing in either of the universities, and living there at his sole charges; or unless the bishop himself intends shortly to admit him to some benefice or curacy.
- unity of title
- warranty of title (See also warranty)
@ title company
Company that examines real estate titles and, commonly, issues title insurance.
See title search
@ title documents
Those instruments necessary for establishing or for conveying good title; e.g. deed
@ title guaranty company
A business organization which searches title to determine whether any defects or encumbrances are recorded and which then gives the buyer of the property or the mortgagee a guaranty of the title
@ title opinion
An opinion (usually by an attorney or title company) on the legal state of the title of specific real property. It should reflect any clouds on title such as rights of way, servitudes and easements.
See also title search
- title search
- title company
@ title standards
Criteria by which a title to real estate may be evaluated to determine whether it is defective or marketable. Many states through associations of conveyancers and real estate attorneys have adopted such standards
@ title theory
A mortgage law theory that holds that from the date of the mortgage execution until the mortgage is satisfied or foreclosed, legal title belongs to the mortgagee and the right to possession belongs to the mortgager while mortgage is not in default
@ title transaction
Any transaction affecting title to any interest in land, including title by will or descent, title by tax deed, or deed by trustee, referee, guardian, executor, administrator, master in chancery, sheriff, or any other form of deed, or decree of any court, as well as warranty deed, quitclaim deed, mortgage, or transfer or conveyance of any kind

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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