A Registered Abstracter is an individual, registered under the Abstracters Act, holding an operative certificate of registration, who for a fee or other valuable consideration, compiles and certifies Abstracts of Title or prepares Reports of Title for real property in any county within the state of Nebraska.
An Abstract of Title is a compilation in orderly arrangement of the materials and facts of record affecting the title to real property, issued under a certificate certifying to the matters contained in such compilation.
A Report of Title is any type of summary of facts of record affecting the title to real property which does not purport to constitute an opinion as to the state of title and which is prepared by a person other than an attorney licensed to practice law.
A report of title is defined in the Abstracter's Act as any type of summary of facts of record affecting the title to a specific piece of land. Such a report may only be prepared by a registered abstracter. This provision of the law was challenged as to its constitutionality in State v. Rabourn, 269 Neb. 499 (2005), in which case the Court determined the validity of the statute and said that one of the purposes of the Abstracters Act is to safeguard the welfare and property of the citizens of this State which The Act does by regulating the business of abstracting.
Certificate of Registration Information
The licensing fee for a registered abstracter is $200 for a two-year period, due on or before April 1st of all even numbered years. All registered abstracters are required to have completed three hours of continuing education during the two-year licensing period preceding April 1. A registered abstracter not employed by a holder of a Certificate of Authority is considered to be "inactive." An inactive abstracter cannot compile or prepare reports of title for a fee or other valuable consideration.
The primary requirements to becoming a registered abstracter in Nebraska are:
- The applicant must complete an Abstracters Application and
- The applicant must successfully pass the exam administered by the Abstracters Board of Examiners.
There are no required courses of study nor is there a school that the applicant must attend in order to qualify for the exam.
It is suggested that the applicant study the manual “Evidencing Land Titles” published by the Nebraska Land Title Association. This manual must be purchased directly from the Nebraska Land Title Association; P.O. Box 85362, Lincoln, NE 68501. Other recommended study tools are the Nebraska Title Standards as approved by the Nebraska Bar Association, and the Nebraska Statutes. The Bar Association can be contacted at P.O. Box 81809, Lincoln, NE 68501. The Abstracters Act as set forth in the Nebraska Statutes (76-502 through 76-558) as well as the Rules and Regs can be found on this website.
The Nebraska Land Title Association and the Nebraska Bar Association both conduct seminars for abstracters that have been approved for professional development hours. The applicant may wish to contact these associations to purchase their seminar manuals or inquire about any upcoming seminars they may have scheduled.
The exam for abstracters is given at least twice a year, usually in the spring (May) and fall (October). Each exam currently consists of four sections. A brief description of each section of the exam is as follows:
General Knowledge Section
This section contains questions from the manual “Evidencing Land Titles” published by the Nebraska Land Title Association, together with questions that can be answered from the applicant's practical experience in working in the real estate title field. In this section, the applicant is asked to abstract entries for the compilation of an abstract of title.
County Court Section
The applicant should know how to abstract proceedings filed in the County Court such as: probate, conservatorship, determination of inheritance tax proceeding, etc. There may also be questions testing general knowledge of probate laws and County Court, and also questions relating to preparation of a Report of Title.
District Court Section
The applicant should know how to abstract proceedings filed in the District Court such as: tax foreclosure, dissolution of marriage, mortgage foreclosure, quiet title proceeding, partition action, etc. The applicant will be asked to abstract a judgment as it would be reflected on an Abstract of Title or Report of Title.
Legal Descriptions Section
This section is written in three parts: General knowledge of abstracting terminology, such as: metes and bounds, government lots, rectangular surveying, linear measurements. Recognizing legal descriptions in context and applying them to surveyed legals. And, actually plotting legals on paper or into electronics, taking this information from test materials. Legal descriptions are the heart of what an abstracter does. In searching and writing legals, the abstracter must be accurate - there is no room for error - and thus, this section of the examination prepares the abstracter for quality service to the profession.
The Application for exam needs to be completed and returned at least 45 days prior to the next exam, together with the necessary application and examination fees totaling $125 and a passport photo of the applicant.
The applicant shall receive notification from the Board when the application is processed and approved, together with the details of when and where the exam will be given. Upon notification that the applicant has successfully passed the exam, the current license fee must be received before the license is issued.
Certificate of Authority Information
Any individual or business entity desiring to engage in the business of abstracting in Nebraska is required to have a Certificate of Authority issued by the Abstracters Board of Examiners. If the applicant is a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, the application for a Certificate of Authority must be completed by the corporate officers, members or partners of the company. A copy of the Articles of Incorporation or Articles/Certificate of Organization or Partnership Agreement must be attached to the Application, as well as a list of all individuals with an ownership interest and the percentage of that ownership interest. Certificate of Authority Application
The law also states that every holder of a Certificate of Authority is required to have a registered abstracter in their employ. The licenses are now issued for a two year period.