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What is a quiet title action?

If you are a Missouri real estate investor, you occasionally may need to file a quiet title action with regard to a piece of property you have purchased. A quiet title action is a lawsuit that you file for the purpose of establishing who owns a particular piece of real estate, including the land and any buildings on it. As explains, a quiet title action is a particularly good idea if you are an investor buying a piece of property in an estate sale or tax sale.

Quiet title actions are governed by state law and the precise requirements and procedures will vary accordingly. Normally you must notify all potential defendants that you have filed the suit. A potential defendant is anyone who may have an interest in the property, such as a potential heir in an estate sale situation and/or any institution or person who holds a mortgage on the property.

Service and default

If you know who these potential defendants are, you can have them personally served with notice, after which they generally have 20 days in which to respond. If you are not sure who they might be, or if personal service is unsuccessful for some reason, it is a good idea to accomplish notice by way of publication; that is, by putting a notice of publication in a local newspaper for several weeks.

In many quiet title situations, none of the potential defendants respond. When this is the case, they are considered to have defaulted and the judge can approve your Motion for Final Judgment After Default and sign an order giving you clear title to the property.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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