Real Estate Law
We specialize in real estate law. We have the knowledge and the experience to solve complex real estate issues:
Missing (unrecorded) deeds and missing signatures, in some cases, may be corrected without the need for a court action. The initial legal review will determine whether there is a reasonable, cost effective way to solve the title problem. In some cases, recording an affidavit or correcting a document is sufficient to resolve the legal issue.
QUIET TITLE ACTIONS:
The Circuit Court (and sometimes the Probate Court) in the county where the property is located has the legal authority to resolve title problems. The common term for this type of case is a “Quiet Title Action.” Essentially, the court case asks the Judge to review the situation and to enter an Order resolving the title problem. A certified copy of the Order is then recorded with the Register of Deeds for that county to correct or replace the incorrect or missing document. The cost of Quiet Title Actions very depending on the number of Defendants, the legal issues presented to the Court, and potential problems regarding service of process (i.e. are the Defendants deceased or is their whereabouts unknown). After review, our office can provide you with an estimate based upon the information we have available at the time the case has begun.
Title problems can arise when a survey discloses a problem regarding a boundary line or a legal description error. A survey may also disclose that a fence line, building or other encroachment is in the wrong location. Surveys generally help resolve the matter, but in some cases, the survey may conflict with previous descriptions. The initial legal effort concerning these types of problems is to determine a resolution and try to work with adjoining property owners to confirm and/or correct the boundary line.
If a boundary problem such as a fence, building or other encroachment has existed for more than fifteen continuous years, a court action may be required to resolve the boundary issue. If a property owner wants to assert a claim of adverse possession, there must be facts available to show that for more than fifteen continuous years the possession has been visible, open, public and notorious so that the owner of a property effected is clearly upon notice that an adverse claim is being made. Adverse possession also requires exclusive possession which is hostile and under claim of title or right to use of the property. Sometimes adverse possession includes acquiescence (agreement) to a boundary line.
Easements may be created in many different ways. It is possible (though rare) that a property may be landlocked. In most cases, the court will determine that the property has access by way of an easement. If an easement question cannot be resolved between the property owners, the Circuit Court (sometimes the Probate Court) in the county where the property is located has jurisdiction to resolve any easement question.
Some easements are described in the deed or are described in previous recorded documents. Some easements pertain to public records such as roads, public drains and utilities.
Some easements are created either by implication (the court determines that there was intent at an earlier time, even though not written, to create an easement) or by necessity (if parcels have been split so that the property would be landlocked unless the court determined the need for an easement because of the original larger parcel).
Another way an easement can be created is by prescription. Prescriptive easement is similar to adverse possession in that an easement has been used openly and visibly for more than fifteen consecutive years. This requires a court action with facts to be presented to convince the court of the existence of the easement.