Opinion #40. Regarding Charges for Title Insurance Amended

Issued by the Professional Ethics Commission

Date Issued: June 2, 1983

Question

The Commission has been requested by an attorney who is active in the real estate field to reconsider Opinion #18. The Commission is advised that that opinion has caused confusion among the members of the bar who issue title insurance policies as to what, if any, fees may be charged for an attorney’s services in issuing the title insurance policy and other related functions having nothing to do with the title work for which the attorney has already been paid by his client. The inquiring attorney also asserts that the Commission was in error in asserting that a “substantial” portion of the title insurance premium represents the cost of the title work.

Opinion

The Commission has reviewed Opinion #18 and declines to rescind or amend it except in the following respects:

  1. The word “substantial” is deleted from the last sentence of the statement of the question.

  2. Sub‑paragraph (4) of the conclusion is amended to read as follows:

The lawyer must give his client a full credit for that portion of the title insurance premium which represents compensation for title work for which he has previously billed his client.

The Commission is satisfied that in all other respects the opinion adequately sets forth the Commission’s view that a lawyer who acts as agent for a title insurance company may receive compensation for doing so out of the title insurance premium paid by his client except that he must credit his client with that portion of the premium which represents compensation for title work for which his client has already been billed since he would otherwise be charging twice for the same work.


Enduring Ethics Opinion