Duplicate Certificates of Title – an Estate Road Block

Road Block to Selling

Vancouver Estate sales can sometimes lead down a winding path to completion. One of the road blocks that may present itself is the missing Duplicate Certificate of Title.

It is not unusual to discover family members who administer the estate are completely unaware of this problem until it is time sell the property.

Where Did It Go?

In the past, when the deceased required a loan from a lending institution it was common for them to provide security against the loan by giving the bank a Duplicate Certificate of Title to the family’s Vancouver home.

Years pass – the loan has long been repaid. During the passing of those years forgotten is that the Duplicate Certificate is still in the possession of the bank.

The Downside Problem – Time

This seemingly small oversight can manifest into a time and money problem when it becomes necessary for the administrators of the estate to sell the home. In effect, they will be precluded from selling the home while the Duplicate is outstanding as they are unable to deliver clear title to a new buyer.

Seen this week was a recent example of how this becomes a bigger problem. The bank branch where the loan was originated and where the Duplicate Title was deposited years prior no longer exists. It remains uncertain at this point in time whether all files associated with the original branch have been lodged be that with another branch or a central repository. The result is that it may take weeks or months to first, establish that the loan was repaid, and second, to confirm if the Duplicate can be found and returned or worse has been lost.

If it cannot be found then letters from the bank discharging the loan and a court order re-establishing the Duplicate Title will be necessary.

Lawyer’s View

Stan Rule a lawyer in Kelowna sums it up best by saying – “If you lose it, you have to apply to the registrar of land titles to issue a provisional certificate. This can be costly, and may take a couple of months. Unfortunately, people usually don’t realize the duplicate certificate is missing until they are required to register a mortgage or close a sale. If a sale is closing the following week, the deal may collapse.”


If a family member is elderly and is concerned that their estate’s problems are minimized, help them by ensuring their title to their property is in order – finding out is as simple as a title search.

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

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