An abstract title is the most common recording in Winona County. When a property is sold or mortgaged the lending institution or new owner wants to be sure the title is clear. If the title isn't clear the lending institution may not be able to foreclose if need be. An attorney or title insurance firm is hired to review the abstract.
The abstract of title is a "book" of all deeds, mortgages, and other documents relating to a particular piece of land, which affect the title. These documents include recordings in the County Recorder's Office, tax records in the County Auditor's Office and judgments in the District Court. This information is compiled in an abstract or title report by an abstract company. Ownership of an abstract property depends on a continuous 40-year chin of title, so every deed during the last 40 years must be reviewed and each mortgage must be matched with a satisfaction or release in order to determine if anyone, other than the deed owner(s) has a claim to a specific property.
A "Title Opinion" concludes who owns the land and what liens or encumbrances are still valid and in force. An "Owners and Encumbrance Report" (O and E) is a report listing current owners and open mortgages or liens. An O and E does not state the title is clear or if the mortgages are valid and in force. An O and E can be obtained from an abstractor.