A muniment of title is a document which proves that someone owns a piece of property. Muniments of title are commonly used at sales, transfers, and inheritance proceedings to demonstrate that the person the property is being transferred from owns it and has the legal right to transfer it. Once the property is transferred, the person owns the property will have muniments of title proving that he or she owns the property. These documents can also be used to trace the history of the ownership of a given piece of property for the purpose of demonstrating a clear chain of ownership in order to respond to conflicting claims.
A simple example of a muniment of title is something like a stock certificate or a deed to a property. The person who holds this document can use the document to show that he or she legally owns the property described in the document. The title to a car is another example. When someone transfers the property, a change of ownership can be recorded and a new document stating the identity of the legal owner can be generated so that the new owner will have a muniment of title.
One case in which the muniment of title can come up is in probate law. When someone dies without outstanding debts and the will is simple, the will itself can be entered as a muniment of title during probate proceedings. The expressed wishes in the will stating how property should be divided can be used to prove ownership of said property, allowing the will to move through probate quickly.
Written evidence of asset ownership can take a number of forms. It is advisable to keep all records which pertain to an asset, in the event of a dispute or transfer in the future. Even if people think that such an event is unlikely, having the proper documentation in order will help the process go smoothly and quickly. Such documents should also be carefully secured in a location like a safe deposit box and it is a good idea to retain copies as well. This ensures that the documents cannot be lost or stolen.
In order to serve as a muniment of title, a document usually needs to be an original, not a copy. It should contain official seals as well as signatures of witnesses documenting the fact that the document was legally filed and recognized.