The Torrens system is one of two recording systems used in Minnesota (Abstract recording system is the other). It is important to understand how the Torrens system works when you’re dealing with Torrens property so you can avoid costly errors.
Property becomes Torrens after an owner applies to the court system to have the property registered as Torrens. After court proceedings, the court orders the issuance of a Certificate of Title. While an Abstract of title provides evidence of title to the property, a Certificate of Title is THE title to the property. All matters affecting title to the property are shown on the Certificate of Title.
- It mentions the owner of the property.
- It includes the existing Recitals and Memorials on the property. A Recital is a statement relating to an instrument affecting title that is carried forward from the original registration of title or a document that affected title prior to registration. A Memorial is an entry on the Certificate of Title that shows information about the instrument affecting title such as dates, document number and a brief description of the document.
- It includes the legal description of the property that appears on the Certificate of Title.
- It includes anything else that would affect title (such as mortgages, easements, declarations, restrictions, etc.).
Errors in Recording
If an instrument is not recorded on the Certificate of Title it’s (with some exceptions) considered that that item does not legally affect title to the property.
In the event that there was an error by the Torrens office that caused a loss – say the owner that was shown on the Certificate really was not the owner of the property – the state is responsible for that error and there’s a fund that pays for errors that occur on title Certificates due to mistakes by the Torrens office.
Torrens aren’t necessarily unique to Minnesota – there are 10 other states in the United States that have some form of the Torrens system. But each state differs in their particular rules and procedures.