Archives: Basic Issues

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Perception Drives Understanding

What would happen if people identified their legal rights as easily as they could identify their titled boundaries? This is an interesting question. There would always be gaps and overlaps in understanding. But, just as importantly it helps us to realize how boundary dispute law is such an apt analogy for all law. So, going … Continue Reading

What Are Legal Elements?

Elements are generally regarded as basic principles or fundamental parts of something. Abstractly we might think of the letters of the alphabet as the elements of a word. Words then become the ‘parts of speech’ used to compose a sentence. Groupings of sentences are used to create paragraphs and then chapters and then books and … Continue Reading

Cautiously Evaluate Any Self-Help Option

Self help is the concept that one takes matters into their own hands … and gets them nice and dirty! Generally, self-help will occur when owners of real property believe certain real property is theirs and they then take some sort of action to clarify that understanding. What follows often is a call by an affected neighbor … Continue Reading

Justice Smiles’ Welcome to Prospective Clients

Thank you for taking some valuable time from your schedule to review this law blog. If you are at all like the majority of those who have previously engaged Justice Smiles, pllc (“Justice Smiles”), you are anxious about a negative situation which is or could possibly unfold with your neighbor. From this day forward, you … Continue Reading

A Norwegian & A Polack Who Don’t Meet in a Bar — Hamlet’s Poland Sub, Subplot

20160301.Bowie.As.HamletMy Network response [HERE] to Survey Connect’s original comments [HERE] produced the reply titled “An example of throwing mud gains little ground” [HERE]. That’s kind of the point … throwing mud back and forth usually leads to much worse. Now while Survey Connect’s two threads appear to have run their course and I am not … Continue Reading

Lines of Record Title v. Boundary Lines

The public is misinformed as to what it purchases when seeking to have “boundary surveys.” Surveyors identify LINES OF RECORD TITLE. This is where the theoretical line of ownership as identified by a legal description is opined by the surveyor to meet the ground. Yet, while lines of record title may coincide with the boundary lines, it is … Continue Reading

Does the Law Allow Me to Steal Land?

20151205.OK.to.Steal.OrchardIs your name/title/business really Justice Smiles??? That’s really awesome and sort of inspirational! Nicely done! Well, I’ve got a quick Q for you Mr. Smiles. Can I pose a theoretical question to you? Let’s say I had been living/camping on another’s property in Washington state (Whidbey Island, theoretically…), and the neighbor’s knew about it and … Continue Reading

Fence v. Retaining Wall

FullSizeRenderIf choosing only a fence or a retaining wall, which would serve to better prove adverse possession? In the above photo we have both. There is what appears (at least from this side) to be a 4 – 5 foot fence in the background. In the foreground is a retaining wall of roughly 1.5 feet … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment

20151203.SummaryJudgment.TreesOutFrontLast night I had a discussion with someone who I almost instantly regarded as a friend. At one point during our conversation, we talked about these trees in the picture. Notably, these two trees are located in the planter’s strip in front of my house. More notable yet are the difference in the size of … Continue Reading

Running with the Land

Running.w.the.Land.MagnoliaBluffRunning with the Land is an important “term of art” in real estate law. It means that all takers of the property after (or in legal speak: subsequent to) the current owner(s) must abide by the terms created by the original owner(s). These subsequent takers may – and often are – specified as ‘all representatives, heirs, successors in … Continue Reading

When Fencing … Touch! You can not … Thrust.

Recently, I was involved in a mediation which raised an important point about what to do when you are putting up a fence. I thought I would take a moment to spell out some basics so that you don’t end up with a mess ten years down the road. The overarching point is spelled out … Continue Reading

Adverse Possession’s Flaw and How to Fix It

Adverse possession is a law which allows an owner of land to do two things (1) disallow stale claims for the ownership of the totality of the property and (2) to claim ownership of land which is beyond the titular bounds of a legal description as determined by surveyors after having conducted a retracement survey. … Continue Reading

Perfection v. Recognition

A repeatedly misunderstood concept which occurs in a legal contests involving adverse possession is the difference between perfection and recognition. Perfection is what happens in the vast majority of cases when all of the elements of adverse possession have been satisfied. For my jurisdiction of Washington State, this is actual possession which is (a) open … Continue Reading

Reversionary Interests – Remedies Clinic Option III

Reversionary Interests are used to provide for changed uses of the land if a pre-defined event occurs. This is very similar to a license which ceases to be effective at the time of real property disposition by sale or death – but another “trigger” may be used to allow or cause the transfer. The legal … Continue Reading

License – Remedies Clinic Option II

Just as with a Quit Claim Deed, the surveyor has been out and the title line and current line of occupation don’t line up. Your wallet isn’t lined with an extra several $10,000s to sort out the issue. Moreover, so long as your neighbor doesn’t try to later hornswoggle you, you do realize that the … Continue Reading

Quit Claim Deed – Remedies Clinic Option I

A Quit Claim Deed (“QCD”) for the titled boundary holder provides a permanent resolution with the greatest ease. The time and cost associated with its production – once having become the agreed solution – are also the lowest of all remedy methods. Also, if this approach can be established instead of a lawsuit, the signal … Continue Reading

Remedies Clinic Commencement

Surveyor has been out and now you either want to tear your neighbors’ heads off because they have “stolen” your land (i.e. you are the title holder who believes you are being short-changed). Or perhaps you have “always owned” land beyond what the surveyor indicates and you darn well want to make sure to protect … Continue Reading

King County Washington Property Research Part I of III – Start with the Parcel Numbers

When doing research on your own and your neighbor’s property, start (and follow through) with some tools related to the properties tax parcel numbers by using King County Geographical Information System (“KCGIS”) Center’s Parcel Viewer 2.0. Once you have arrived at this screen, continue with the following steps; Click on the green, “Start Parcel Viewer 2.0”; … Continue Reading

Hey Everybody – Matt’s Got a Great Idea!

Robert – Adverse possession to a property owner is legalized theft. The new law [RCW 7.28.083] should have struck it down completely. Adverse possession is archaic and with today’s ready access to surveys, there is no reason absolute boundaries cannot be confirmed and legal boundaries protected by the very authorities property owners fund with their … Continue Reading
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