Q: How can I get an old mortgage lien removed from my title? I paid off my loan and the settlement agent gave me a statement indicating that all funds had been disbursed.

Does the settlement agent have an obligation to make sure that the lien is removed?

A: To pay off a loan, you first need to request a payoff letter or demand letter from your lender. The payoff letter or demand letter asks your lender to give you the exact amount necessary to completely pay off you loan.

When you receive the statement from the lender, you will then need to forward a cashier’s or certified check to the lender for the exact amount needed to pay off the loan on the date indicated in the letter.

Once your lender receives the payoff letter and funds, the loan is paid off in full. Lenders then need to prepare a release deed or release of lien to clear the title to the property. The release, once recorded, gives notice to the world that you have paid off the loan and that the lien is no longer valid.

Unfortunately, over the last several years, lenders have become overwhelmed by the refinance boom and some have failed to keep up with the documentation. Some never send out the release deeds or release of lien letters.

You should call your lender and request that the company prepare and send out the release for recording. The document must be recorded at your recorder of deeds office or other office charged with recording documents in your county.

You can request that the settlement agent make the call, but it may take just as long to get the settlement agent and explain to them what you want them to do as it would to get a copy of the documents from your payoff and call the lender yourself. If you call the lender, ask for the department that handles release of liens.