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The document library is posted for convenience purposes only. Ambassador Title recommends the use of an attorney to provide legal advice to ensure proper use of the forms in the library below. Utilizing the forms below does not constitute legal advice. 




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Wire Fraud

Wire fraud uses electronic communications (false representations via phone or email) to obtain money. You may receive wire instructions which appear to be from an agent or attorney when, in fact, it is malicious. This is a case of wire fraud. 

To avoid wire fraud, keep the following in mind:

  • Do not share online banking info or logins with anyone
  • Do not share your banking account info unless necessary
  • Do not access your bank account with a public computer
  • Monitor your accounts regularly for unauthorized transactions - report these immediately
  • Be aware of phishing emails with links - even if they come from a known source
  • Install firewalls to deter unauthorized access
  • Be skeptical of changes to wiring instructions
  • Confirm wire and disbursement instructions received via email through a known phone number


What is title?

Title is a collective term that makes up your legal right to own, possess, use, control, and dispose of real estate. Title takes into account all previous ownership, uses, and transfers. In order to properly transfer real estate, a title search should be performed to verify that the title is free of any defects or encumbrances.

What is a title defect or encumbrance?

A title defect is something which is missing from, or wrong with, the recorded chain of title. Examples of this are improperly executed documents which appear of record or an undisclosed spouse who could make a claim against the land. An encumbrance is a claim made upon the land by someone other than the land owner. Examples of this are easements or mortgages which burden the real estate.

Why is transferring the title to real estate different from transferring the title to other items, such as my car?

Land is permanent and the ownership and use of the land can change many times over the years. A land owner can transfer to third parties various rights in the real estate, such as mineral, water or utility rights. Restrictive covenants may be recorded against the real estate which limit, or in some cases prevent, the use of the property. Even if the real estate is vacant, it will have a history which will not be known without a title search.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects against future loss, should the condition of title be any different than when the policy was written.

Why do I need title insurance?

There are two types of title insurance: a lender’s policy (also called a loan policy) and an owner’s policy. The lender’s policy provides protection to the lender typically in the amount of the loan. The face amount of coverage for a lender’s policy does not usually represent the full value of the real estate. Your mortgage lender will generally require that a mortgage policy is issued to protect its mortgage. An owner’s policy protects the land owner and is usually written for the full value of the real estate. If you are purchasing real property, the requirement of an owner’s title policy is typically included as part of your purchase agreement.

What is a title search?

A title search is a detailed examination of the public records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, tax records, and other public documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership of the property and to discover any defects or encumbrances on the title.

What kind of problems can a title search reveal?

A title search should show all defects and encumbrances, as well as land use restrictions. Common examples are unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments or other liens against the land owner, and recorded restrictive covenants or agreements which limit the use of the land.

Are there potential problems that a title search cannot reveal?

Yes. There are some hidden defects that even the most diligent title search will not reveal. For example, a prior owner could have incorrectly stated his or her marital status when conveying homestead property, potentially rendering the conveyance void. Other examples of hidden defects are fraud and forgery, mental incompetence, failure to have actual authority to sign a conveyance, and clerical errors in the public records. Hidden defects can arise after you have purchased real estate; can be costly to correct; and in some cases can jeopardize ownership of the real estate.

Is a recorded deed proof of ownership?

No. A deed is used to convey an interest in real estate. A recorded deed is evidence that real estate has been conveyed by the Grantor to the named Grantee. The deed conveys to the Grantee only the rights and interest in the real estate which were held by the Grantor. A deed does not eliminate title defects or encumbrances and the deed will not disclose these matters.

I am buying property from an owner who already has title insurance. Why do I need a new policy?

A title policy which insures your seller does not protect you, as the policy was written in favor of the seller. Also, many things could have happened to the title to the real estate since the date on which that policy was issued. Any liens, defects, or encumbrances affecting the title and arising after the date the seller’s policy was issued would not be covered in the existing owner’s policy.

How much does title insurance cost?

The cost of title insurance varies from state to state. The premium for an owner’s policy is calculated based upon the value of the real estate. The premium for a mortgage title policy which is issued at the same time as the owner’s policy is flat simultaneous issue premium. You can estimate the cost of your title policy by using our rate calculator contained in this web site. The premium for the owner’s policy is paid at the time you obtain title to the real estate and the premium for a lender’s title policy is paid at the time the mortgage is taken out. Title insurance is different from other forms of insurance because the premium is paid only once and there are no additional future premiums due to keep the policy in force.

How long does the average title insurance policy last?

The lender’s policy lasts until the insured mortgage is paid in full. An owner’s policy of title insurance lasts as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the real estate, or an obligation relating to title warranties given as part of a conveyance of the real estate.

How does title insurance protect my heirs?

An owner’s title insurance policy provides coverage from the time of its effective date back to the origin of the title. After the real estate has passed to your heirs, if any defect prior to the effective date of the policy should arise, the title insurance company would defend the title for your heirs just as it would for you if you were alive.

Where can I get title insurance?

You can obtain title insurance from any licensed title insurance company or its agents operating in your state. When choosing a title insurer, it is important that you look for a company with expertise and experience, as well as the financial strength to protect you should a claim arise. Your real estate broker or attorney can recommend such a company.

Can I decline having title insurance?

Yes and no. While your lender will likely require a loan policy of title insurance, the purchaser can choose whether or not to obtain owner’s protection. This decision is usually made at the time an offer to purchase is drafted and that document usually defines the type of owner’s title insurance coverage and who will pay the premium.

Best Practices

Mission Statement

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) seeks to guide its membership on best practices to protect consumers, promote quality service, provide for ongoing employee training, and meet legal and market requirements. These practices are voluntary and designed to help members illustrate to consumers and clients the industry's professionalism and best practices to ensure a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience. These best practices are not intended to encompass all aspects of title or settlement company activity.

ALTA is publishing these best practices as a benchmark for the mortgage lending and real estate settlement industry. ALTA seeks comments from stakeholders as the Association seeks to continually improve these best practices. A formal committee of ALTA members will regularly review and make improvements to these best practices seeking comment on each revision.


Background Check: A background check is the process of compiling and reviewing both confidential and public employment, address, and criminal records of an individual or an organization. Background checks may be limited in geographic scope. This provision and use of these reports are subject to the limitations of federal and state law.

Company: Ambassador Title Corporation which is the entity implementing these best practices.

Escrow: A transaction in which an impartial third party acts in a fiduciary capacity for the seller, buyer, borrower, or lender in performing the closing for a real estate transaction according to local practice and custom. The escrow holders have fiduciary responsibility for prudent processing, safeguarding and accounting for funds and documents entrusted to them.

Escrow Trust Account: An account to hold funds in trust for third parties, including parties to a real estate transaction. These funds are held subject to a fiduciary capacity pursuant to written instructions.

Federally Insured Financial Institutions: A financial institution that has its deposits insured by an instrumentality of the federal government, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit UnionAdministration (NCUA).

Licenses: Title Agent or Producer License or registration, or any other business licensing requirement as required by state law, or a license to practice law, where applicable.

Non-public Personal Information: Personally identifiable data such as information provided by a customer on a form or application, information about a customer's transactions, or any other information about a customer which is otherwise unavailable to the general public. NPI includes first name or first initial and last name coupled with any of the following: Social Security Number, driver's license number, state-issued ID number, credit card number, debit card number, or other financial account numbers.

Positive Pay or Reverse Positive Pay: Any system by which the authenticity of a check is determined before payment is made by the financial institution against which the check is written.

Settlement: In some areas called a "closing." The process of completing a real estate transaction in accordance with written instructions during which deeds, mortgages, leases and other required instruments are executed and/or delivered, an accounting between the parties is made, the funds are disbursed and the appropriate documents are recorded.

Trial Balance: A list of all open individual escrow ledger record balances at the end of the reconciliation period.

Three-Way Reconciliation: A three-way reconciliation is a method for discovering shortages (intentional or otherwise), charges that must be reimbursed or any type of errors or omissions that must be corrected in relation to an Escrow Trust Account. This requires the escrow trial balance, the book balance and the reconciled bank balance to be compared. If all three parts do not agree, the difference shall be investigated and corrected.


Purpose: Maintaining state mandated insurance licenses and corporate registrations (as applicable) helps ensure the Company remains in good standing with the state.

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • Establish and maintain applicable business License(s).
  • Establish and maintain compliance with Licensing, registration, or similar requirements with the applicable state regulatory department or agency.
  • Establish and maintain appropriate compliance with ALTA's Policy Forms Licensing requirement.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement For Best Practice Number 1

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 1.

  1. The Company maintains licenses to do business in the State of Wisconsin.
  2. President and Managers are licensed in accordance with the licensing and regulatory requirements of the State of Wisconsin.
  3. Ambassador Title Corporation maintains a license to use the ALTA forms in conjunction with its membership in the ALTA


Purpose: Appropriate and effective escrow controls and staff training help title and settlement companies meet client and legal requirements for the safeguarding of client funds. These procedures help ensure accuracy and minimize the exposure to loss of client funds. Settlement companies may engage outside contractors to conduct segregation of trust accounting duties.

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • Escrow funds and operating accounts are separately maintained.
    • Escrow funds or other funds the Company maintains under a fiduciary duty to another are not commingled with the Company's operating account or an employee or manager's personal account.
  • Escrow Trust Accounts are prepared with Trial Balances.
    • On at least a monthly basis, Escrow Trust Accounts are prepared with Trial Balances ("Three-Way Reconciliation"), listing all open escrow balances.
  • Escrow Trust Accounts are reconciled.
    • On at least a daily basis, reconciliation of the receipts and disbursements of the Escrow Trust Account is performed
    • On at least a monthly basis, a Three-Way Reconciliation is performed reconciling the bank statement, check book and Trial Balances.
    • Segregation of duties is in place to help ensure the reliability of the reconciliation and reconciliations are conducted by someone other than those with signing authority.
    • Results of the reconciliation are reviewed by management and are accessible electronically by the Company's contracted underwriter(s).
  • Escrow Trust Accounts are properly identified.
    • Accounts are identified as "escrow" or "trust" accounts. Appropriate identification appears on all account-related documentation including bank statements, bank agreements, disbursement checks and deposit tickets.
  • Outstanding file balances are documented.
  • Transactions are conducted by authorized employees only.
    • Only those employees whose authority has been defined to authorize bank transactions may do so. Appropriate authorization levels are set by the Company and reviewed for updates annually. Former employees are immediately deleted as listed signatories on all bank accounts.
  • Unless directed by the beneficial owner, Escrow Trust Accounts are maintained in Federally Insured Financial Institutions.
  • Utilize Positive Pay or Reverse Positive Pay, Automated Clearing House blocks and international wire blocks, if available.
  • Background Checks are completed in the hiring process. At least every three years, obtain Background Checks going back five years for all employees who have access to customer funds.
  • Ongoing training is conducted for employees in management of escrow funds and escrow accounting.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement for Best Practice Number 2

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 2.

  1. The Company maintains separate operating and escrow accounts.
  2. Escrow accounts are prepared with trial balance.
  3. Escrow trust accounts are reconciled at least monthly using Quickbooks and Softpro software.
  4. Duties are segregated so that employees with signing authority are not involved in reconciliation. Management reviews each electronically stored reconciliation report.
  5. Each escrow account is labeled as “Custodial Escrow Account” or “Trust account”.
  6. Positive and negative file balances are documented.
  7. Only authorized employees can conduct closing settlements and former employees are immediately removed as signatories on all accounts.
  8. Escrow accounts are established only at Federally Insured Financial Institutions.
  9. ACH blocks and international wire transfer blocks are in place on all escrow accounts.
  10. Only those employees who have satisfactory credit reports and background checks are authorized
  11. Closing/Settlement employees receive periodic training in person and by teleconference.


Purpose: Federal and state laws (including the Grarnm-Leach-Bliley Act) require title companies to develop a written information security program that describes the procedures they employ to protect Non-public Personal Information. The program must be appropriate to the Company's size and complexity, the nature and scope of the Company's activities, and the sensitivity of the customer information the Company handles. A Company evaluates and adjusts its program in light of relevant circumstances, including changes in the Company's business or operations, or the results of security testing and monitoring.

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • Physical security of Non-public Personal Information.
    • Restrict access to Non-public Personal Information to authorized employees who have undergone Background Checks at hiring.
    • Prohibit or control the use of removable media.
    • Use only secure delivery methods when transmitting Non-public Personal Information.
  • Network security of Non-public Personal Information.
    • Maintain and secure access to Company information technology
    • Develop guidelines for the appropriate use of Company information technology.
    • Ensure secure collection and transmission of Non-public Personal Information.
  • Disposal of Non-public Personal Information.
    • Federal law requires companies that possess Non-public Personal Information for a business purpose to dispose of such information properly in a manner that protects against unauthorized access to or use of the information.
  • Establish a disaster management plan.
  • Appropriate management and training of employees to help ensure compliance with Company's information security program.
  • Oversight of service providers to help ensure compliance. with a Company's information security program.
    • Companies should take reasonable steps to select and retain service providers that are capable of appropriately safeguarding Non-public Personal Information.
  • Audit and oversight procedures to help ensure compliance with Company 's information security program.
    • Companies should review their privacy and information security procedures to detect the potential for improper disclosure of confidential information.
  • Notification of security breaches to customers and law enforcement.
    • Companies should post the privacy and information security program on their websites or provide program information directly to customers in another useable format. When a breach is detected, the Company should have a program to inform customers and law enforcement as required by law.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement for Best Practice Number 3

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 3.

  1. Non-public personal information, if physically maintained at Ambassador Title Corporation, is accessible only by authorized employees.
  2. Non-public personal information, if electronically maintained, is done so on secure servers with access restricted to only authorized employees.
  3. Storing data on removable media, such as smart phones, USB drives and disks is controlled and often prevented by management.
  4. Documents containing non-public personal information is transmitted from Ambassador Title Corporation using Citrix Sharefile, a vendor specializing in safe delivery of documents using encryption and password protection.
  5. Ambassador Title Corporation maintains its own document shredder and contracts service to a shredding vendor to ensure safe disposal of non-public personal information.
  6. Ambassador Title Corporation maintains and tests its written Disaster Recovery Plan on an annual basis.
  7. All existing and new employees are trained on information security.


Purpose: Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training helps ensure the Company can meet state, federal, and contractual obligations governing the Settlement

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • Recording procedures.
    • Review legal and contractual requirements to determine Company obligations to record documents and incorporate such requirements in its written procedures.
      • Submit or ship documents for recording to the county recorder (or equivalent) or the person or entity responsible for recording within two (2) business days of the later of (i) the date of Settlement, or (ii) receipt by the Company if the Settlement is not performed by the Company.
      • Track shipments of documents for recording.
      • Ensure timely responses to recording rejections.
      • Addressing rejected recordings to prevent unnecessary delay.
      • Verify that recordation actually occurred and maintain a record of the recording information for the document(s).
  • Pricing procedures.
    • Maintain written procedures to help ensure that customers are charged the correct title insurance premium and other rates for services provided by the Company. These premiums and rates are determined by a mix of legal and contractual obligations.
      • Utilize rate manuals and online calculators, as appropriate, to help ensure correct fees are being charged for title insurance policy premiums, state­ specific fees and endorsements.
      • Ensure discounted rates are calculated and charged when appropriate, including refinance or reissue rates.
      • Quality check files after Settlement to help ensure consumers were charged the Company's established rates.
      • Provide timely refunds to consumers when an overpayment is detected.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement for Best Practice Number 4

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 4.

  1. Ambassador Title Corporation’s policy requires its closing/settlement employees to submit documents for recording within two business days of disbursement and tracking the documents through the recorder’s office.
  2. Ambassador Title Corporation maintains records of the title insurance rates which are filed with the State of Wisconsin by each of its underwriters. Employees are trained in the use of these records to ensure that customers are being charged the appropriate premiums.


Purpose: Adopting appropriate procedures for the production, delivery, and remittance of title insurance policies helps ensure title companies can meet their legal and contractual obligations.

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • Title policy production and delivery.
    • Title insurance policies are issued and delivered to customers in a timely manner to meet statutory, regulatory or contractual obligations.
      • Issue and deliver policies within thirty days of the later of (i) the date of Settlement, or (ii) the date that the terms and conditions of title insurance commitment are satisfied.
  • Premium reporting and remittance.
    • Title insurance policies are reported and premiums are remitted to the underwriter in a timely manner to meet statutory, regulatory or contractual obligations.
    • Report policies (including a copy of the policy) to underwriter by the last day of the month following the month in which the insured transaction was settled.
    • Remit premiums to underwriter by the last day of the month following the month in which the insured transaction was settled.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement for Best Practice Number 5

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 5.

  1. Ambassador Title Corporation issues and delivers policies to its customers in a timely manner often electronically to meet the demands of lenders and consumers.
  2. Ambassador Title Corporation reports policies and payments for those policies to its underwriters in a timely manner to meet statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.


Purpose: Appropriate levels of professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance help ensure title agencies and settlement companies maintain the financial capacity to stand behind their professional services. In addition, state law and title insurance underwriting agreements may require a company to maintain professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance, fidelity coverage or surety bonds.

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • The Company maintains professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance.
  • The Company complies with requirements for professional liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, fidelity coverage or surety bonds, as provided by state law or title insurance underwriting agreements.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement for Best Practice Number 6

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 6.

  1. Ambassador Title Corporation maintains appropriate levels of Errors & Omissions insurance, Fidelity coverage and Surety coverage to meet state law and contractual obligations.


Purpose: A process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints is important to ensure that any instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered.

Procedures to meet this best practice:

  • Consumer complaint intake, documentation, and tracking.
    • Standard procedures for logging and resolving consumer complaints helps ensure consumers provide the company with sufficient information to understand the nature and scope of the complaint.
      • Develop a standard consumer complaint form that identifies information that connects the complaint to a specific transaction. 
      • Set a single point of contact for consumer complaints.
      • Establish procedures for forwarding complaints to appropriate personnel. Maintain a log of consumer complaints that includes whether and how the complaint was resolved.

Ambassador Title Corporation Compliance Statement for Best Practice Number 7

Ambassador Title Corporation is compliant with Best Practice Number 7.

  1. Ambassador Title Corporation has a written policy to deal with customer complaints that allows the office manager to settle the complaint; or if unable to do so, to transfer the issue to the Company President.