“I don’t suppose you may know of an attorney in Massachusetts with as much experience and common sense in this area as yourself?


I’m sorry that I don’t. I would suggest you talk with a surveyor who has been trained in mediation first before handing your matter to a lawyer.

As my most recent [linked] blog post indicates surveyors who act as mediators can be considered real estates ‘first responder heroes.’

There is a distinct reason why I say this. Surveyors duty is to correctly identify title lines and MAY be able to assist a conversation with your neighbors to come to a reasonable agreement if the title lines and apparent boundary lines on the ground are not in agreement.

[Washington State] dirt litigators are paid mercenaries who are more than happy to advocate for either the title holder or the putative adverse possessor’s position.

My position – informed as a Washington licensed attorney only [and hence unable to give specific advice to you as to the law of Massachusetts] – has been that most boundary disputes are banal contests over hardly any land.

Unfortunately, my experience in Washington regarding these matters is that once a case is passed to the dirt litigators, it generally very quickly takes on a life of its own based on the “black-hole” of anger, fear, and greed – a formidable abyss which I call the death spiral.

[Note, I have completely rethought my comments about the new law of adverse possession in Washington state which is RCW 7.28.083. If Massachusetts has a similar law regarding the potential for fee shifting, I would suggest extra vigilance and circumspection. Continuing …]

Before going off the precipice and into the abyss with your neighbor, you may want to print out those too later articles and present them to your neighbor and see how your neighbor reacts.

[In doing so, please of course disclose that this information may not be fully accurate in Massachusetts as it reveals only my experience out here in Washington State.]

Perhaps your neighbor will recognize the following:

  • Good neighborly relationships are important;
  • Risks attendant to going to court are too high;
  • Financial costs will – if at all similar to the Seattle area – likely end up being astronomical;
  • Emotional costs will be too profound; and
  • Life is simply too short to waste on these types of trivial matters.

There are reasons why these types of matters do need to be resolved which relate to the future marketability of real property, but that can be done by a gut-wrenching and gut-splitting evisceration through the use of the courts … or, it can be done peacefully.

What’s going to be more important to you … a fleeting relationship with your attorney or a long -perhaps even one over the course of your lifetime – relationship with your neighbor?

The advice that I attempt to distill for prospective clients here in Washington State is that one should come to quick terms with their neighbors and preserve their relationship.

I think this is sound advice which I ought to be able to share in other jurisdictions too. Any challengers out there may speak up publicly.justice-smiles-gold.png