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Free Legal Help for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure in Dane County

Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce
http://www.daneforeclosurehelp.org
For more information contact:
Dan O’Callaghan (608) 283-0117or Ellen Bernards (608) 576-8658

  

What:            FREE LEGAL HELP!  For homeowners facing foreclosure. Help available in English and in Spanish Ayuda disponible en español también.

Who:              For homeowners who have received a Foreclosure Summons and Complaint

When:           11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Thursday, March 1, 2012 & Every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month.

Where:          City-County Building, 3rd floor, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

THIS IS A RECURRING EVENT, 1ST AND 3RD THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH.

FREE LEGAL HELP is available for Dane County homeowners in foreclosure.  Homeowners can receive basic legal information and free assistance in writing an Answer to the lawsuit at the Foreclosure Answer Clinic.  The Clinic has assisted almost 200 homeowners to understand the legal process of foreclosure and to respond their lawsuit. Homeowners who respond in writing to the lawsuit have more control over the process and a better chance for a favorable outcome.   

Homeowners have ONE CHANCE to file an Answer to their lawsuit. Filing an Answer is one of the critical things a homeowner MUST do even if the homeowner is in communication with the lender and working on options such as a loan modification or short sale.

Time is of the essence because homeowners generally have only 20 calendar days from the date they receive the initial lawsuit papers to file a formal response called an Answer.  Failing to file an Answer to the lawsuit on time significantly reduces homeowners’ control over the process and their ability to share their story with the judge. In addition, they may not be notified of important steps in the court process of foreclosure.

The Clinic is open the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the 3rd floor of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Madison.  No appointments are necessary.  Homeowners should bring their Summons and Complaint as well as any other relevant papers about the foreclosure.  

The Foreclosure Answer Clinic is a collaborative effort of the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce, the Dane County Bar Association and the UW Law School, with grant funding provided by the State Bar of Wisconsin and other support provided by Dane County.

Who We Are.  The Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce is a coalition of public agencies, non-profit service providers and other community partners working together to develop sustainable alternatives to foreclosure in Dane County. For more information, please visit daneforeclosurehelp.org.

Our Mission.  To develop and implement a coordinated response to the current foreclosure problem in Dane County. 

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A deed is the legal document that transfers ownership rights (called “Title”) from one owner to the next. There are many different kinds of deeds in Wisconsin, and the type of deed used has important legal ramifications. A clear understanding of the different kinds of deeds also illuminates why title insurance is so critical.

What Deeds Do

A deed transfers an interest in property from one party to another. In addition, a deed may contain other important language that can affect the new owner, including among others, warranties and reservation of rights.

Warranties

A deed may contain certain warranties or promises. Warranties are the Seller’s promise to the Buyer regarding the title interest that the buyer will receive. The standard Warranty Deed contains the following warranty:

Grantor warrants that the title to the Property is good, indefeasible in fee simple and free and clear of encumbrances…

Thus, a Warranty Deed offers a legal promise that the buyer will receive good title. By contrast, a Quit Claim Deed contains no warranties at all. Other deeds may have limited warranties.

Reservation of Rights

Deeds may also contain reservations of rights. For instance, a deed may reserve interest or rights in the seller or grantor, such as a life estate. A deed might also contain provisions for easements or other restrictions. In other words, deeds may contain limitations on the rights the new owner will receive.

Various Types of Deeds

There are many different types of deeds, including Warranty Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Trustees Deeds, Sheriff’s Deeds, and Personal Representative Deeds. The major difference between each kind of deed is the level of warranties provided.

Type of Deed

When Used

Warranties

Warranty Deed In most standard sales. Warrants good, indefeasible title in fees simple, free and clear of encumbrances. This is the strongest warranty and generally gives the new owner the right to seek redress or damages from the seller in the event of most title problems.
Quit Claim Deed Many inter-family transaction, between neighbors, divorce Contains no warranties at all. A seller conveys, and the buyer receives, whatever interest the seller has in the property, even if that interest is nothing at all.
Sheriff’s Deed Sale at the end of Foreclosure Like a Quit Claim deed, there are no warranties. The Buyer gets whatever interest the sheriff was able to convey (which could be nothing at all).
Personal Representative’s Deed Used to transfer property rights from a deceased person’s estate. Involves Probate Court. Like a Quit Claim deed, there are no warranties. Generally, the Personal Representative is unwilling to warrant or promise anything relating to property that he/she has never personally owned.
Special Warranty Deed REO (Bank Owned) Sale Provides very limited warranties. Generally only warrants that the Bank had title sufficient to sell the property.

 

Title Insurance and Deeds

A title insurance policy insures that the new owner will receive good, indefeasible title, free and clear of encumbrances other than exceptions noted in the policy. You may notice that this is almost exactly what a seller Warrants in a warranty deed. Title insurance can be viewed as an insurance policy in the event that a seller breaches a warranty and is unable to pay. And, after all, how many sellers could come up with the kind of money needed to pay for a breach of a warranty?

But what if the seller gave no warranties at all? What if the deed is a Quit Claim Deed, a Sheriff’s Deed, or a Personal Representative’s deed. Then title insurance becomes even more critical. The Title policy would be the buyer’s only recourse in the event of a title defect.

Title Insurance policies always protect buyers against certain unforeseen title problems. This is often added protection above and beyond the buyer’s right to seek redress from the seller. Whenever the buyer has no right to seek redress from the seller – when there are no warranties – it becomes imperative that the buyer receive a title insurance policy.

Giving Legal Advice

This information is intended to serve as a warning to Realtors and other non-attorneys to steer clear of giving legal advice. It is important to understand the characteristics and limitations of each kind of deed. It is even more important to leave the legal advice to attorneys. If a question or issue arises involving which type of deed is appropriate, always consult an attorney.

This information was provided by Attorney Peter Zarov. The information provided is not to be construed or used as legal advice and may not be accurate outside of Wisconsin.

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