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Real Estate Title and Alienation Terms and Examples

By Edited Jul 24, 2015 0 0

1) Deed-

Definition: A document used in real estate to transfer the ownership of a property from one party to another party.

Example: Ted bought Yasmine’s property for $500,000.  On September 26th Ted closed escrow and Yasmine’s realtor gave Ted a document that gives him full rights to the property and takes away all of Ted’s rights.


a)     Buying of a property- Ted bought Yasmine’s property.

b)    Transfer of property- Yasmine agrees to accept Ted’s offer of $500,000.

c)     Transfer of rights to a property- Yasmine’s realtor gave Ted a document that gives Ted full rights to the property.

2) Testator/Testatrix-

Definition: A person who makes out a will for a party.

Example: Sally is 80 years old and has 3 properties worth over $500,000 each and 3 kids. She decides she needs to write up a will. She decides to leave one property to each of her kids. Sally writes up a will to leave a house to each one of her kids.


a)     Someone in need of a will- Sally is getting closer to death and needs a will.

b)    Assets that are in need of will- Sally has a lot of assets that could potentially be left to her heirs.

c)     Writing of a will- Sally writes a will and leaves a house to each one of her kids.

3) Holographic Will-

Definition: A will that is written out by hand by a testator/testatrix and often does not have any witnesses.

Example: Terry is going on a 10 hour plane ride to Europe in 2 weeks. Before she leaves she writes out a will that says her children are entitled to all her assets if she dies.  She puts this will in the kitchen drawer and forgets about it. While she is on her trip she talks to her children on the phone and lets them know her will is in the kitchen drawer if anything happens.


a)     A person in need of a will- Terry is going on a trip and does not have a will.

b)    A handwritten will- Terry quickly writes a will to leave all of her assets to her children.

c)     No witnesses- Terry writes the will in her kitchen when she is alone and puts it in the kitchen drawer without anyone seeing it.

4) Intestate-

Definition: When a person dies without leaving any type of will.

Example: Sarah is 33 years old married with one child and she has 2 properties. Sarah and her husband go on a trip to the Bahamas.  Sarah and her husband take a small plane to go site seeing and the plane crashes killing everyone in the plane. Sarah was young and did not leave a will to give her assets away.


a)     Person without a will- Sarah was young and did not think to write a will before she went on a trip.

b)    Person with assets- Sarah has two properties that she could potentially leave to her heirs.

c)     Person dies- Sarah died in a plane crash without leaving a will.

5) Escheats-

Definition: When a person dies without a will and no heirs can be found the ownership of their assets go to the state.

Example: Jacob was never married, never had any children, lived alone and died at the age of 89.  Jacob did not have a will and owned his own home plus 2 rental properties. Because Jacob had no heirs so his property became owned by the state.


a)     A person dies- Jacob dies of old age.

b)    A person does not have a will- Jacob does not have a will.

c)     A person does not have any heirs, so ownership is given to the state.- Jacob does not have any heirs, and his property is given to the state.

6) Partition-

Definition: When the court divides up the ownership of a property.

Example: Sam and Kelley are a divorcing couple. They bought a house 7 years ago and now want to sell it. Kelley says they divided ownership 50/50 and Sam says he owns 80 and she owns 20. Sam and Kelley have to let the courts decide what percentage each of the parties own because they cannot agree on it themselves.


a)     Multiple owners of a property- Sam and Kelley both own a property together.

b)    Disagreement over ownership- Sam and Kelley cannot decide how much of the property each of them owns.

c)     Court decision- Sam and Kelley have to go to the court to decide what percentage of the property each of them own.

7) Dedication-

Definition: When a private owner voluntary or involuntarily gifts a property to the public.

Example: Thibodo is a park and recreation center in Vista, CA where Jackie teaches dance. In the recreation center there is a plaque that Jackie finds that says Mr. Thibodo used to live on the property but donated the property to the city to use for recreational purposes.  The city then turned the property into a recreation center and a park.


a)     Private owner- Mr. Thibodo owned the property.

b)    Gift to the city- Mr. Thibodo gifted the property to the city.

c)     Voluntary or involuntary- Mr. Thibodo voluntarily donated the property to the city to use for recreational purposes.

8) Annexation-

Definition: When someone transforms personal property into a part of the real property.

Example: Harry has a tree on the corner of his property. His kids find a bunch of wood Harry has lying around the garage and decide they want to build a tree house in the tree.  The wood used to build the house was Harry’s property, but once he puts it into the tree it becomes part of his property.


a)     Personal property- Harry has a bunch of extra wood lying around the garage.

b)    Real property- Harry has a tree on his property.

c)     Transferring of personal property into real property- Harry’s kids connect the wood in his garage to his tree to make a tree house.

9) Recording-

Definition: In real estate, when a record of real estate is recorded at the county office for public records.

Example: Mack and Laura bought a home together. They closed escrow on October 22nd.  They were not given the keys until October 23rd because that is when the transfer of property was officially recorded at the county office. The ownership is official when the transfer of ownership was recorded at the county.


a)     Transfer of ownership- Mack and Laura bought a home together.

b)    Recording of documents at the county- Mack and Laura’s ownership of the property was official once it was recorded at the county office.

c)     Public records- Once Mack and Laura’s ownership was recorded at the county; it was public records for everyone to see.

10) Extended Coverage Policy-

Definition: A type of title insurance that covers everything that a standard policy covers and all problems found in the inspection of the property.

Example: Al wants to get title insurance. He calls and insurance company and asks for all the old problems of the house to be covered and asks for an inspector to come inspect the property so the insurance can cover anything that is current.


a)     A person in need of title insurance- Al calls the insurance company to get title insurance.

b)    All old problems are covered- Al wants his coverage to include all the old problems of the house, which is what the standard policy covers.

c)     Problems in the inspection are covered- Al asks for an inspector to look over the property and for his insurance to cover all the problems found. 



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