The complaint you need to file to establish title is an action to quiet title under MGL c. 240, filed in either Superior Court or Land Court. Proof can be any number of things - your testimony, neighbor testimony, photos, building permit for the fence. However, note that if anywhere the other owner gave you permission to landscape on your side of the fence, that breaks the 20-yr. chain, because then your use becomes by permission rather than "an open, adverse, hostile, exclusive use under a claim of right".
To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.
I agree with Attorney Callahan's answer and would just like to add that in Massachusetts the most difficult requirement to satisfy is the continuous use of the property you seek to adversely possess and quiet title. Continuity is strictly construed so you must be able to establish that for 20 years there was not a single break in your possession of your neighbor's land. Further, you should check whether the land you seek to quiet title is recorded or registered land because you cannot adversely possess registered land regardless of whether you satisfied the other requirements. You may want to consult an attorney to assist you with your claims. Best of luck.
Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. (It lets us know how we are doing.) Attorney Kremer is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. Please visit her Avvo profile for contact information. In accordance with Avvo guidelines, the following disclaimer applies to all responses given in this forum: The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.
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