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Torrens Property

Torrens title property is property in which the title is under the supervision of the District Court.  Once property has been put into the Torrens registration system, it is legally separate from abstract and the record of ownership begins with the current owner.  Under the supervision of the Court, the Registrar of Titles issues an original Certificate of Title, which is kept in the office of the Registrar. 

The Registrar of Titles is advised by the Examiner of Titles.  Certain circumstances require review and/or a Directive or Certification by the Examiner, such as:

  • When the property being conveyed is held in a Trust
  • The owners have divorced or passed away and proper documentation had not been filed
  • There is a foreclosure
  • There is a new easement being created
  • Registered Land Surveys
  • New Plats or CIC’s

Transactions needing the Examiner’s review are first submitted to the Registrar of Titles Office and then are forwarded to the Examiner with appropriate fees and supporting paperwork.

A partial listing of Torrens property is indicated on our Plat Directory of recorded Subdivisions or Plats, highlighted in yellow.  If the property in question does not fall within the indicated Subdivisions or plats, you can call our office with the legal description and we can look it up to determine whether it is Abstract or Torrens.

Examiner of Titles

The Examiner of Titles is an attorney appointed by the Judges of the District Court to act as legal adviser for judicial and administrative duties, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 508.12, specified in the Minnesota Land Registration Act also called the Torrens Act.

The Examiner of Titles assists the district court by examining titles and petitions, issuing reports and conducting hearings in court cases involving the registration of land titles and in court cases involving problems or disputes with land which has been previously registered.

An important function of the Examiner of Titles is to act as legal adviser to the Registrar of Titles, who is responsible for filing title documents (e.g., deeds, mortgages, liens) submitted to the Registrar and for issuing Certificates of Title. The Examiner of Titles also issues directives and certifications instructing the Registrar of Titles to take specified action affecting Certificates of Title.

Certificate of Possessory Title (CPT)

An owner of abstract land may convert the land to the Torrens system (registered) by an administrative process. Possessory title registration under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 508A provides an administrative alternative to a judicial registration of title to land under Chapter 508. A possessory estate in land is a fee simple estate held by an owner who (1) has been found on examination by the examiner of titles pursuant to section 508A.13 to be the record owner of the land described; and (2) has satisfied the examiner of titles that the owner is in actual or constructive possession of the land.

Registration of possessory title is generally less expensive and can be completed more quickly than a judicial registration. The process does not involve the court and requires no publication or personal service of notice of the registration, other than by mail. Possessory title registration is recommended for uncontested titles when:

  • Part of the owner’s land is already registered. The double recording of documents becomes unnecessary.
  • The owner desires protection against adverse possession or judgments against someone with the same or similar name.
  •  Development or sale of the land is anticipated, and the owner desires the certainty of registered title.
  • A planned condominium encompasses registered and not registered land.
  • Owners, including cities, wish to simplify the records of their land ownership and end the necessity of maintaining abstracts.

Please call 218-370-1189 or email for information regarding the necessary documentation to accompany application.

Standard Procedure and Timeframe for Torrens Proceeding

  • Petition drafted by petitioner counsel – email to examiner at for approval before filing – examiner emails back signed approval along with form Order of Reference – examiner sends estimate of examiner fees – counsel efiles petition and Order of Reference with Lake County Court Administration and requests courtesy copy be sent to examiner – counsel sends check for estimated fees to Scott W. Smith, Lake County Examiner of Titles.
  • Counsel records certified copy of petition as memorial on subject Certificates of Title (COT).
  • Upon receipt of Order of Reference, examiner will prepare Examiner’s Report and efile with Court Administration – examiner will add as “service contact” on efile system.
  • Counsel schedules Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing and notifies examiner of date, generally 6-8 weeks out depending on parties to be served per Examiner’s Report. (Service on Federal agencies requires 60 days notice, State agencies require 30 days notice)  Hearing scheduled as appropriate.
  • Counsel drafts OSC and emails to examiner for signed approval – examiner emails back the signed OSC – counsel efiles with Court Administration and obtains judge’s signature.
  • Counsel serves OSC on all parties identified in Examiner’s Report.  When all parties are served, proceed to hearing.  If unable to serve all parties, then counsel is required to mail and publish.  If a party must be served via Secretary of State then counsel must continue the hearing to a new hearing date (if re-serve is less than 30 days out from hearing).  If hearing is rescheduled due to re-service, all parties must be re-served.
  • At least one week prior to hearing, counsel prepares the Final Order package and emails to examiner. Package to include:
    • Affidavit(s) of Service
    • Affidavit of Non-Military Status
    • Affidavit of Occupancy
    • Tax Certification
    • Name Search
    • Proposed Final Order
  • Examiner reviews and, if complete, signs a Final Order as “read and approved” and returns to counsel.  Counsel efiles Final Order package to Court Administration at least 48 hours before hearing.  If there are new owners and/or new deed is memorialized since date of occupancy affidavit, or if occupancy affidavit is more than 30 days prior to hearing date, counsel to re-verify occupancy by affidavit and obtain new owners’ signed waiver of notice and consent to Petition and copy examiner for review and approval.
  • Hearing held in open Court before judge – counsel and examiner appearing via telephone.  Absent objection, judge signs Final Order.  Counsel obtains certified copy of Final Order through Court Administration and submits certified copy to Registrar for filing and issuance of new COT.
  • If parties appear and object to Petition on the merits, judge will grant extension of time to formally file written objection and contested hearing will be scheduled. If no written objection is filed within the the time allotted, judge will sign Final Order as of date of OSC hearing.

Lake County Examiner of Title Fee Schedule

Certificates, Approvals, Directives and Easements$170.00per hour
Proceedings Subsequent following mortgage foreclosure$500.00 - $650.00
Registrations and Proceedings Subsequent with multiple respondents$800.00
Ex-Parte Petitions, Registered Land Survey, Administrative Subdivision,
Plat Review and Petition
$500.00 - $800.00

The compensation for all other matters and for above matters with unusual complexity is $180.00 per hour; filing fees, copies, postage and other out of pocket costs shall be an additional assessment.

Original Certificate of Title$46.00
Document Transferring Certificate$46.00

$40.00 for each additional new certificate, thereafter
Entry of Memorial per Certificate$46.00

$20.00 for multiple certificate entries, thereafter
Residue Certificate OR each additional new Certificate$40.00
Exchange Certificates$20.00 for each Cancelled Certificate

$20.00 for each New Certificate

$20.00 for multiple certificate entries, thereafter
Common Interest Community Certificate of Title$40.00
Amendment to Declaration in accordance with Chapter 515$46.00

$20.00 for multiple certificate entries thereafter
Amended Floor Plan in accordance with Chapter 515$56.00
Amendment to CIC Declaration & Plat complying with 515B$46.00

$20.00 for multiple certificate entries thereafter
Condominium or CIC Plat or Amendment$56.00
Section 515B CIC affecting 2 or more units$46.00 for first 10 affected Certificates

$10.00 for each additional affected certificate
For Filing of a Certified Copy of a plat of the Survey$46.00
Registered Land Survey$56.00
Certified Copy of a Registered Land Survey$15.00 (Large Size)
Condition of Register (Certified)$50.00
Non-Certified Copy of a Certificate of Title$5.00
Well Disclosure Certificate$50.00
Federal Tax Lien$46.00
State Tax Lien(no charge)
State Tax Lien Release$30.00