Signature's Resource Center


FAQ

Many of the products Signature Information Solutions offers are certified. What does that mean? Simply put, we stand behind our work to help mitigate risks and give you peace of mind at the closing table.

Our wide range of products assist the title, legal and lending markets with due diligence and compliance solutions. Many of our products were developed or enhanced to assist in compliance with regulatory challenges for these markets. Below are sources that may provide you with further context of the solutions our products may provide to you.

  1. Why might you need to order a Child Support Judgment Search?

    NJ State legislation requires attorneys in civil actions to ascertain whether their clients are child support judgment debtors before releasing a monetary award or settlement. - https://legiscan.com/NJ/text/S2348/id/668620

  2. Why might you need to order a Patriot Name Search?

    Executive Orders/USA Patriot Act:

  3. Why might you need to order a Flood Search?

    Flood Disaster Protection Act - https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/6000-2400.html

  4. Why might you need to order a Tideland Search?

    O'NEILL v. State Hwy. Dept. - http://law.justia.com/cases/new-jersey/supreme-court/1967/50-n-j-307-0.html

  5. Why might you need to file a 1099-S Report?

    Tax Reform Act of 1986 - https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/99/hr3838

Flood Zones-What do they mean?

  • A = Area of special flood hazard without base flood elevations or water depths determined. Insurance required
  • AE and A1-A30 = Area of special flood hazard with base flood elevations determined. Insurance required
  • A99 = Area of special flood hazard which will be protected by a federal flood protection system when construction has reached a specified point of completion. No base flood elevations or water depths determined. Insurance required
  • AH = Area of special flood hazard with shallow flooding (usually one to three feet) with base flood elevations determined. Insurance required
  • AO = Area of special flood hazard with shallow flooding (usually one to three feet) with average water depth determined. Insurance required
  • V = Area of special flood hazard along coasts, subject to velocity of storm waves, with no base flood elevations determined. Insurance required
  • VE and V1-V30 = Area of special flood hazard along coasts, subject to and velocity of storm waves, with base flood elevations determined. Insurance required
  • B or X = Area of moderate flood hazard shown as area of light shading on flood map. No insurance required
  • C or X = Area of minimal flood hazard shown as area of no shading on flood map. No insurance required
  • D = Area of undetermined but possible flood hazard. No insurance required

Please call our Customer Service Call Center with questions at 800-792-8888.

Product Use Cases

Wonder if Signature’s products are a good match for you and your business? Check out our use cases.

Title companies, attorneys, corporate counsel, lenders, CPA’s, leasing companies, and other service companies in the industry.

An attorney has been retained to help a woman incorporate her business proprietorship. She has decided that she wants to call the new corporation Sample Corporation. The attorney may contact Signature Information Solutions to assist with the following:

Name Availability then Name Reservation.

Why? First the name is checked with the applicable state to determine its availability for use. If available a Name Reservation can be filed – to reserve the name prior to use. This is helpful so that the client may be secure that they have right to use this name. They may proceed to negotiate contracts and other terms before actually submitting the paperwork to form the corporation.

Filing a Certificate of Incorporation

Why? The Certificate of Incorporation is filed with the applicable state agency to be legally put on record.

Obtaining a corporate minute book (kit)

Why? Ordering the corporate minute book will provide all the subsequent tax forms that will need to be completed and filed with the appropriate agencies (i.e. Application for Employer Identification Number). The kit will also provide stock certificates and register to record them; sample bylaws, and a corporate seal. The binder itself serves as a central filing place for the Certificate of Incorporation and documents related thereto.

An attorney is contacted by a company involved with commercial land development. This company is seeking a loan in order to secure property or land to develop an office building. The attorney will conduct one or all of the various due diligence searches listed below regarding the acquisition:

  • In addition to its normal property related due diligence - the title company will also be required by the lending institution to conduct Corporate and UCC related searches, some of which are noted below.
    • Corporate/LLC Status Reports
    • Obtain Good Standing Certificates
    • Retrieving copies of corporate or LLC documents on file
    • UCC Searches – State and County Level
    • Franchise Tax Searches
    • Court Record Searches – Federal, State & County
    • Court Record Document Retrievals – Federal, State & County

In-house legal counsel for a corporation is working on a merger between one of their corporations, ABC Inc. and a smaller entity BB LLC. In-house counsel for ABC Inc. will require due diligence to merge BB LLC into the corporation. Products that in-house counsel may order from Signature include:

Retrieve copies of documents on file

Why? This will help get a picture of the company and their filing history.

File merger documents

Why? Mergers may be formed to consolidate multiple businesses to gain greater efficiencies. Acquisitions may be negotiated to expand the business or to acquire different parts that the acquiring company desires.

File amendments to change corporate information

Why? The survivor of the merger may want or need to amend information of the merged companies as follows: the company name; stock; or address, etc.

File changes of agent for the merged company

Why? The survivor of the merger may also want to change the registered agent of the company to be uniform with other entities that are in their portfolio.

An individual is in the process of purchasing a home. The individual has chosen to use an attorney to handle the closing. Once the attorney has the necessary information, such as block, lot, address, town, the attorney will contact a title agent to obtain Title Insurance. As a standard, a full 60 Year county search chain of title will be included in the documents the attorney receives back from the Title Company. The search will include the current owner, a tax map and filed map if applicable, a full search of the title behind to the developer, 60 Years or back title to include all liens and encumbrances on the property.

Why? Liens and encumbrances attach- to real property, the types of companies noted in the scenarios above are performing due diligence.

A surveyor is having a difficult time placing property lines and needs clear legal descriptions of the surrounding area so they order deed searches for adjoining lots of the subject property from the county search department.

Why? A survey is determines the points and distances and angles between properties and are often used to establish boundaries for ownership in the sale of land and creation of the metes and bounds description on a deed that transfers real properties.

An attorney is asked to establish ownership of real property in New Jersey of a certain individual due to a pending legal suite. They order a Grantor/Grantee search on a name in any county in New Jersey from the person current age back to the age of 18.

Why? A person can legally purchase in New Jersey at the age of 18 and if you search a person’s name in both the grantee index (to establish a purchase) and the grantor index (to establish any out sales) what is not sold at the end is owned by that individual and the deeds can be used as proof of ownership for litigation. (A certified copy may be purchased for additional fees).

A couple is in the process of purchasing a home. They have chosen to use an attorney to handle their closing. Once the attorney has the necessary information, such as block, lot, address, town, he/she will contact a title agent for Title Insurance. A (municipal) Tax Search will be included in the documents the attorney receives back from the Title Company. Depending on the municipality, the search will include information on the property taxes, utility charges, assessments and any municipal level liens (clouds) that may exist on the property.

Why? Unpaid tax and utility information attach to real property, the types of companies noted in the scenarios above are performing due diligence.

A couple is preparing to retire and have looked into receiving/taking a reverse mortgage on their property. Since they own their home free and clear of any mortgage, a reverse mortgage will allow them to slowly remove the equity they have built up in the property while being able to remain living in the home. These funds will supplement their pensions and social security payments to help them cover expenses and make the most of their retirement years.

Why? A search is requested by a title company in much the same fashion as example (1) – however, in this scenario, the entity requesting the title insurance is a bank or other lending institution (basically the party who will be giving the funds to the couple).

A couple has just lost their house to a fire. They contact their homeowner’s insurance company and submit a claim to cover the damages and rebuild. Prior to releasing any funds to the couple, the insurance company will request a search.

Why? They will order the search to investigate if there are any municipal based clouds or encumbrances on the property. If any exist on the municipal level they will satisfy those before releasing the balance of the monies to the couple.

Company A is a major player in the municipal tax lien field. They purchase tax, utility and assessment liens throughout the state. After a certain waiting period, they will attempt to foreclose on these liens. This enables them to gain ownership to the properties for what basically equals - the amount of each lien. Prior to the foreclosure, they will order a search.

Why? They order the search to check on the status of the taxes, utilities and any other municipal charges that may exist and to see if any other entities may also have a lien on the same parcel. Knowing this information will help them determine their anticipated profit should they proceed with the foreclosure. Signature certifies its Tax and Utility Searches. If Signature makes a mistake it will take responsibility.

An attorney is involved in a civil action and has won the case for his/her client. Prior to distributing the funds of more than $2,000, the attorney orders a child support judgment search from Signature Information Solutions.

Why? NJ State legislation requires attorneys in civil actions to ascertain whether their clients are child support judgment debtors before releasing a monetary award or settlement. $2,000 Threshold: P.L. 2000, c. 81 applies only if the net proceeds (after court costs, attorney’s fees, medical costs, etc.) exceed $2,000 to any individual prevailing party or beneficiary.

A title company has been engaged to handle a real estate closing for a couple purchasing a home in Burlington County, New Jersey. Prior to closing, the products it may order are a Charles Jones Certified Judgment Search and a Certified Patriot Name Search.

Why? The title company needs to ensure their client is purchasing a house (property in question AKA PIQ) that is free of encumbrances and is able to be sold by the stated “Seller” of the PIQ. Therefore, the title company will order products from Signature Information Solutions to assist in this endeavor. One of the key products it may order is a Certified Judgment Lien Search. This would generally be ordered for all of the names in the chain of title. Signature’s Charles Jones Judgment Lien Search is the standard in the industry.

The title company may also order a Certified Patriot Name Search from Signature as well. Effective September 24, 2001, Executive Order 13224 was issued (as amended by Order 13268, and 13608) and requires anyone conducting a financial transaction to determine if the person(s) with whom they are doing business are listed on the Blocked Persons list. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 requires similar checks and procedures. Later Executive Orders and sanctions have been imposed that require a check of other names that appear on OFAC’s “The Consolidated List” before transacting business.

Signature certifies many of name search products. Therefore, if Signature makes a mistake it will take responsibility.

Buyer contacts a lender during home purchase process. As part of its due diligence the lender may order a flood search on the property.

Why? In general, lenders, brokers or agents have a duty to disclose certain adverse material features or aspects of a property in a transaction. If flood insurance is required for a property, that is a fact that needs to be disclosed to the buyer. Therefore our Lender client in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) contacts Signature to request a flood search. Using the legal information provided by the lender on the PIQ we review the flood maps produced by FEMA to determine flood risk to satisfy the federal flood insurance requirement. We offer a complete flood hazard risk assessment for the subject property. This includes a flood zone designation for the structure(s) (main building, residence, etc.) as well as appurtenant structures (detached garage, shed, barn, etc.) located on the subject property. We also identify any Special Flood Hazard Area on the property, even if the structures are not impacted. We provide the results to the lender on the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form. We can also supply flood maps (separately) on request and readily share our expertise in answering any and all questions the lender or any other interested party has regarding the PIQ or the NFIP.

Signature certifies its Flood Searches. Therefore, if Signature makes a mistake it will take responsibility.

Buyer engages title agent as part of the home purchase process for a property located in the State of New Jersey. As part of due diligence, the title company may order a Tideland Search.

Why? The title agent doing their due diligence in preparing the Title Insurance Commitment and engages Signature to review the PIQ for State tidelands claims. Using the legal information provided to us by the title company we review the State’s tideland maps for claims, the State’s conveyance maps and our database for grants, leases and licenses that affect these claims. We supply (with our completed tidelands search) a grant search (when applicable) for no extra charge. We also supply a map with the tideland search at no extra charge.

We readily share our expertise on all tideland related issues and can supply most of the grant related instruments to our clients.

Signature certifies its Tideland Claim Search. Therefore, if Signature makes a mistake it will take responsibility.

Buyer is represented by a real estate attorney who orders a Wetland Search in the course of providing due diligence for their client. Using the legal information provided by the attorney Signature will research the property using the NJDEP wetland layer as reference in combination with soils and topographical maps.

Why? We also check the PIQ location in relation to various jurisdictions such as Pinelands or Highlands area or the Coastal Areas Facilities Act (CAFRA) as these areas may have various land use restrictions and buffer zones.

We then provide the attorney with our Wetland opinion along with the topographical and soil information and Jurisdiction location (when applicable). We supply a map at no extra charge with our search and are readily available to provide guidance on all Wetland related issues.

The above information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

Signature Information Solutions LLC is not a consumer reporting agency as such term is defined in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq. ("FCRA"). Signature Information Solutions LLC reports do not constitute consumer reports as such term is defined in the FCRA, and accordingly these reports may not be used to determine eligibility for credit, employment, tenant screening or for any other purpose provided for in the FCRA.