If Cecilia & Nicolas were not bona-fide purchasers for value (because Segolene murdered Nicolas and then sold their jointly owned house alone), they could not have legally conveyed title to the lovely couple now sitting in my office with their heads between their hands. But luckily, they brought me the title insurance policy from their purchase, and I was able to make a call that eventually solved all the lovely couple’s problems: I inquired of the present title insurer as to whether it wished to pay off on the policy my clients bought from them in the 1980’s, as title seemed suspect at best, or did they want to issue and get paid for a new policy for the buyers we had under contract?
After a few days of investigation and some economic evaluation, the title company decided to issue a new policy to the buyers, who were obligated by the terms of the contract to accept such insurable title as provided by “any licensed NYS title company”.
Problem solved? Legally yes, but Ms. Buyer was a bit freaked out by the whole murder thing, afraid the slaying may have occurred in the house. In the end, a newspaper archival search revealed that Segolene spotted Francois pulling up to the house with his “paramour” in the car, all set to deliver the news of his affair and leave Segolene. As he got out and started talking, Segolene shot Francois dead in the driveway!
As you may imagine, we had a lot to talk about at that closing.