doubtful title – open to reasonable doubt regarding any question of law or fact; would probably cause a purchaser to be involved in litigation with an adverse claimant

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doubtful title:

1. A title that exposes the party holding it to the risk of litigation with an adverse claimant.  See unmarketable title. [1]

1. A title which is open to reasonable doubt; one for which a purchaser who takes it probably will be subjected to contest and litigation; one which can be established only by parol testimony difficult to procure; one that an ordinarily prudent man would not accept if he were buying the property or taking it as security for a loan. Wanser v De Nyse, 188 NY 378, 80 NE 1088. [2]

1. Title that is open to reasonable doubt; title that will probably cause a purchaser to be involved in litigation. [3]

     Excerpt from Chapman W. Maupin’s Marketable Title to Real Estate 2 (2d ed. 1907):

     “Doubtful titles are those which turn upon some question of law or fact which the court considers so doubtful that the purchaser will not be compelled to accept the title and incur the risk of a lawsuit by adverse claimants.” 


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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