Archives: Basic Issues

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America’s Most Valuable Master Mind

Above is the painting Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull. At 12′ x 18′ it is the size of the footprint of my original office. Yes, you’ve seen it before. An engraving of it is on the reverse of the $2 bill. The event which it purports to capture was also noted by Napoleon Hill … Continue Reading

Border Wall Chaos Ruminations

My chops as a boundary dispute attorney gives me both credibility and pause to step into the fray of our nation’s border wall debate. This matter is not strictly similar to a boundary dispute between neighbors because neither side is seeking to redefine the location of the line. What is at issue is at issue … Continue Reading

Burning Desire To Promote Prosperity and Peace

Now that I have crawled out of Plato’s Cave – or out from under the rock of the practice of boundary dispute law – to get my bearings in the “blinding sun,” I have decided it worthwhile to do a series about my impressions of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. I have a couple of … Continue Reading

MSFT’s Proposed Facial Recognition Regulation Factors

Facial recognition can be a positive force for good. But we need to act to regulate this new technology, before we find that it is used in ways that discriminate, invade privacy, or undermine human rights. We’ve laid out our suggestions on how we can get started and the principles Microsoft will adopt. – Brad … Continue Reading

Let it Be?

You just found out that your neighbor has “something” located beyond what the survey line indicates onto your property. The “something” could be their fence, their patio, their shed, or any other number of items made by hand or nature – including trees, shrubs, or garden. What should you do about it? A.     Rip … Continue Reading

Thompson v. Schlittenhart – Case Review

Some boundary dispute cases involve a little bit more than the parties’ contrary claims of adverse possession and quiet title to the recorded real property. No, sometimes the professionals can make bank by engaging in a contest in which one of them will ultimately end up the butt of the joke. [1] That’s what happened … Continue Reading

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

My 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?

Is 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

If 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

Last 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 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