Property line disputes arise when neighbors can't agree on where the property line lies. They can often be resolved by looking at the deeds to the property.
The Rectangular Survey System The rectangular survey system is based upon true meridian and is originated from an "Initial Point". Once the initial point is established a north-south line is configured through the point with reference to "true north", not magnetic north. This is referred to as the "Principle Meridian". Next an east-west line is configured through the initial point parallel to the equator. This is referred to as the "Base Line". "Township Lines" are then established north and south of the base line at six mile intervals and numbered north or south from the base line as necessary. Then "Range lines" are established east and west of the principle meridian at six mile intervals and numbered east or west of the principle meridian as necessary. The intersection created by the township lines and the range lines form a nominal six mile square creating what is referred to as a "Township This 6-mile square township consists of 36 "Sections" with each section being nominally 1 square mile. Working from a principal meridian and baseline, the surveyor marks off the township lines into grids of 36 square miles. Townships are further divided into sections of 1 square mile (640 acres). Sections are then numbered from 1 to 36. By the General Plan,the unit of survey is the township, each nominally 6 miles square, of 36 sections. The unit of subdivision is the section, each nominally one mile square, of 640 acres, numbered from 1 to 36. The section lines are usually surveyed from south to north and from east to west, with any excess or deficiency placed against the north and west boundaries of the townships. By the General Plan, the section is subdivided into units of administration, called legal subdivisions. These are of two types, aliquot parts and lots. The section is subdivided into quarter-sections by running straight lines from the established quarter-section corners to the opposite corresponding quarter-section corners. These nominal 160-acre units are designated by symbol in tabular descriptions as, NEl/4, NWl/4, SWl/4, and SEl/4. As a policy land descriptions by aliquot part must not go beyond a four component description. For example, a 5-acre unit described as the S1/2NE1/4NW1/4SE1/4 is acceptable, as is a 2-acre unit described as the SE1/4NE1/4NE1/4SW1/4. Aliquot parts of X-acre or less described with five components or more, e.g., the W1/2SE1/4NE1/4SW1/4SE1/4 are unacceptable. Order of Legal Land Descriptions If more than one township is included int he land description,the preferred order of listing is to begin with the lowest range number and within each range by the township numbers also beginning with the lowest. Where townships east and west of the principal meridian or north and south of the base line or both are involved,the preferred order of listing is first those north and east of the initial point, followed by those north and west, south and west, and south and east in the order named. The preferred order of listing sections is to begin with the lowest-numbered section in each township, giving first the lot numbers in order, then the subdivisions within each quarter section,in the order NE, then the NW, SW, and SE; if parts of the quarter-sections are to be described, the same order is observed and all the parts of each quarter-section will be described before proceeding to the next quarter-section and so on. Method for Writing Legal Land Descriptions The use of a comma is significant in writing the descriptions of the subdivisions of a section. A comma means "AND THE" and the absence of a comma means "OF THE". The improper use or placement of a comma could drastically change an aliquot description and the intended acreage to be described. The description NE1/4SW1/4SE1/4 absent of the comma describes an aliquot part of 10 acres. With a comma as such NEl/4, SWl/4, SEl/4 describes three aliquot parts totaling 480 acres. Demonstrating the proper use of the comma in an aliquot description follows. The NWl/4, NE1/4SE1/4SW1/4, NW1/4SE1/4, describes three aliquot parts containing 210 acres. Example: Assume it is section 15, township 4 north, range 20 east, X-Meridian. The proper aliquot description should contain all of the reference elements within it. X-Meridian, T. 4 N., R. 20 E., sec. 15, NWl/4, NE1/4SE1/4SW1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4. The area described contains 210.00 acres. In using symbols, the usual punctuation is omitted. Note that the period is omitted after N, NE, S, SE, etc., and that there is no comma and no space between symbols indicating a quarter-quarter section (NE1/4SE1/4). Some contiguous units may be combined. For example, if section 10, NWl/4 and section 10, SWl/4 is included, the resulting 320-acre unit can be designated as "sec. 10, Wl/2". Where section 22, NE1/4NW1/4 and SE1/4NW1/4 is included, the resulting 80-acre unit can be designated as "sec. 22, El/2NW1/4" . And where section 22, NE1/4NW1/4, NW1/4NW1/4, and SE1/4NW1/4 is included, can be designated as "sec. 22, Nl/2NW1/4 and SE1/4NW1/4". One half of a regular section consists of two quarter sections having a common boundary, and the section divided by a line between opposite quarter section corners. Half of a half description should not be used as it could cause ambiguity to the intended location of the division line. For example if section 10, Wl/2NW1/4 and Wl/2SW1/4 is included, the symbol "sec. 10, Wl/2Wl/2" is not used. The latter description is ambiguous and subject to more than one interpretation. For half of a half description of acquired lands, the prevailing rule does vary from state to state; whether the presumption is to describe half by area or half by government measurement. Half of half descriptions should not be used or used with extreme caution and if there is doubt as to the location of the division line,further explanation of the intent is required. The sections along the north tier and west range of a township are typically irregular sections and contain lots. These lots are a legal subdivision of a section and designated by section and lot numbers such as "sec. 3, lot 1". Lots cannot be described as aliquot. For example, an irregular section 3 will typically contain 4 lots adjoining the north boundary of the township. A contiguous unit such as, lots 1 and 2, and Sl/2NE1/4 should not be combined as, NEl/4. The latter description is ambiguous and subject to more than one interpretation.
Advantages of A Trust Versus A Will Apart from avoid probate, there are other advantages to using a revocable trust in your estate plan. If an illness or accident leaves you incapacitated, your successor trustee can handle your financial affairs without the need of a court appointed guardian or conservator. If the beneficiaries of your trust are minor children or others who might not use an inheritance as you intend, the trust can continue to hold the assets until they reach a more mature age. If you own real property in more than one state, you avoid the expense, time and hassle of multiple probate proceedings. By using the "A-B" provision in a trust, a husband and wife can pass the maximum estate tax exemption to their heirs. Problems with Probate Probate has many disadvantages, including: TIME CONSUMING: The probate process can take a few months or as long as several years to complete. The average probate takes about 12 months. In complex situations, probate lasting 18 months or longer is not unusual. COSTLY: Attorney's fees to probate an estate can run into thousands of dollars. In addition, the executor must be compensated. All related probate fees must be paid before any of the descendant's assets are distributed to the family. The average cost of probate is 4-8% of the gross estate. LOSS OF CONTROL: The probate court controls the entire process. Someone "on the outside" will tell your beneficiaries who gets what and when. LACK OF PRIVACY: All probate transactions are a matter of public record. Anyone can find out the size, contents and beneficiaries of your estate. This can be embarrassing and frustrating for your family, create disputes, and expose your family to unscrupulous solicitors. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT PROBATE IS TIME CONSUMING, INCONVENIENT, AND EXPENSIVE. EVEN AT BEST, PROBATE IS AN UNPLEASANT AND EMOTIONALLY TRYING EXPERIENCE. AT WORST, IT CAN BE A NIGHTMARE.
If you're buying, selling, or handling a piece of real estate, here's what you should know about the real estate law process before you make any deals.
Learn the common issues and potential outcomes related to real estate law.
Breach of Contract This is the most common cause of action in a real estate lawsuit. The contract can include a purchase and sale agreement, a lease, a partnership agreement or any other type of agreement between parties. It can even be an oral agreement rather than written. In breach of contract litigation the plaintiff must show that there was a contract, that he or she performed his or her obligations, that the other side did not (breached the contract) and that there were damages. Specific Performance Specific performance is used together with a breach of contract cause of action. Specific Performance asks the court to force the other party to actually perform (rather than just pay damages). This is most commonly used when a purchase agreement is breached and the seller no longer wants to sell the property for whatever reason. Quiet Title A quiet title lawsuit is used to determine ownership of land. A common example of this are boundary disputes between neighbors. However, quiet title may also be used when there is a problem in the chain of title. Partition Partition is used when co-owners of real property want to separate. It is divorce in the real property context. Partition involves either a claim to divide the property, or if that is not possible, to sell the property. Partition is almost always a matter of right and the law does not force owners to remain together against their will. Partnership Claims: Breach of Contract and Breach of Fiduciary Duty For real estate developers, investors and owners who are members in a Limited Liability Company together or partners in a partnership, the most common cause of action is probably breach of fiduciary duty. This cause of action alleges that a partner who owes a duty of loyalty and honesty to the other partners has breached that duty. This often involves allegations of self-dealing. Resulting Trust Even most experienced real estate litigation attorneys are unclear on resulting trust. This concept is used when one party has paid the money to buy or maintain a property but for some reason is not on title. This is usually because of bad credit, a bankruptcy or in order to qualify for government entitlements. The court will still recognize that party's ownership through the resulting trust cause of action. Real Estate Fraud Like fraud in other fields, real estate fraud applies when a party has misrepresented or concealed material facts during a real estate transaction. The other party must have reasonably relied on the misrepresentation and must have been damaged by it. Fraud often includes providing false financial information or concealing a material defect with a property. Other real estate litigation causes of action... Real estate litigation has a number of unique causes of action and statutes. There are other causes of action that may be applicable to your situation but this is a basic list of the most common real estate causes of action.