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NSW Residential Property: Does Land Title equal ownership?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Steve500, 27 May 2015.

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  1. Steve500

    Steve500 Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to find out something regarding ownership of property.

    If a Land Title is registered (eg a company, an individual owner, 2 owners) does that mean whatever the registration of the land Title does that mean that is what owns it?

    Or can sometimes a property registered in a company, but the actual property is owned by a Trust Fund, even though the property is registered in say a company as stated by the Land Title records.

    Just a bit confused when defining the significance of Land Title registration property law implications.
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    In the Torrens System of Land Title Registration*
    the entity whose name appears in the Register is the owner of the land.**

    Possession of the physical Certificate of Title document is not really here or there.

    Land can be held by pretty much any legal entity capable of holding real property.
    That could be a natural person, or a corporation, or a partnership.
    It can also be held by a trust.
    So, yes, land can be held by Person X as trustee for Person Y,
    or by a corporation as trustee for natural persons.

    That said, there's a bit more to it when you start talking about things like
    deceased estates and intestacies, the powers of Executors
    (and where applicable Legal Personal Representatives, Holders of a Power of Attorney,
    bankrupts, and non-citizens.

    What you sometimes see is that a beneficiary leaves land to someone in their will,
    but that land is actually held by a trustee. It's therefore not theirs to gift.
    You sometimes get this on farms, where, say, the Blackacre Pastoral Company is trustee of the land,
    but Dad purports to leave the land to one or more of his children.

    You can also get issues when a spouse (or long term de facto)
    doesn't necessarily inherit as a surviving joint tenant - because, if a trust is in play,
    they are not necessarily a legal owner of the land.


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    * You may have heard the phrase "Torrens Title". That's the usual day-to-day name for it.
    ** In lawyer-speak, "land" refers collectively to both the ground and any building(s)
     
  3. Steve500

    Steve500 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you that's a good summary.
     

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