Title Issues

Quitclaim deed does not negate good faith for purpose of adverse possession if the occupying parties did not actually know they were on land owned by another

Georgia is one of the few states that requires "good faith" in order to acquire property by adverse possession. That means that one cannot acquire property by adverse possession if one is knowingly occupying property of another. In McBee v. Aspire at Midtown Apts., L.P. 807 S.E.2d 455 (Ga. 2017), the question arose whether an owner was precluded from asserting...

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Option to purchase property valid if exercised within the USRAP 30 year period

The Massachusetts Land Court has held that a commercial option to purchase property may be exercised nine years after the right to exercise the option ripened (because of failure to fulfill a condition by a set date). Pinewood Road, Inc. v. Kuntz, 2017 WL 361172 (Mass. Land Ct. 2017). The court noted the traditional rule that an option to purchase real property "that does not supply a time limit for it exercise must be...

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First Circuit resolves dispute over religious real and personal property by reference to formal agreements

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has resolved a longstanding and complicated dispute between two congregations over control of the real and personal property of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. In an opinion by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., the trial court had found that an implied or constructive trust existed by which a New York Congregation Shearith Israel (CSI) held title to the property for the benefit of the Newport Rhode Island Congregation Jeshuat Israel (CJI)....

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Will leaving land to surviving heirs of the decedent's child creates a life estate in the child with remainder in the heirs

The Georgia Supreme Court has interpreted a will leaving land to the "surviving heir or heirs" of the decedent's child as creating a life estate in the child with a contingent remainder in the child's heirs. Anderson v. Anderson, 791 S.E. 2d 40 (Ga. 2016) Read more about Will leaving land to surviving heirs of the decedent's child creates a life estate in the child with remainder in the heirs

Part performance as exception to the statute of frauds

The Idaho Supreme Court reaffirmed the traditional rule that part performance of a real estate agreement can constitute an exception to the statute of frauds. If that is the case, a contract that would otherwise be unenforceable because it does not comply with the statutory writing formalities may be enforced nonetheless. Hoke v. NeYada, 387 P.3d 118 (Idaho 2016). The case involved a lease with an option... Read more about Part performance as exception to the statute of frauds

Fee simple absolute found despite language of "in trust" and "for the uses, purposes" of the YWCA

In a standard application of traditional estates doctrine, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has found a fee simple absolute despite language in the grant to the YWCA stating that the property was given "in trust, nevertheless, for the uses, purposes and trusts aforesaid." Young Women's Christian Ass'n, Inc. of Boston, Inc. v. Young Women's Christian Ass'n of Philadelphia, Inc., 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1119, 2016 WL 7162737 (Table) (Mass. 2016).

Traditionally any language in a conveyance of a fee...

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An owner can obtain property by acquiescence even if the neighboring land is unoccupied

The Utah Supreme Court has held that an owner can obtain property "by acquiescence" if the owner occupies a strip of the neighbor's land in a visible manner without objection.  Anderson v. Fautin, 2016 UT 22, 379 P.3d 1186 (Utah 2016). Although "acquiescence" suggests that a neighbor is aware of the placement of the border and either agrees or does not object to it...

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Banks that foreclose without legal authority to do so commit the tort of wrongful foreclosure

The California Supreme Court held in Yvanova v.  New Century Mortgage Corp.,, 365 P.3d 845 (Cal. 2016), that a borrower has standing to prove that a nonjudicial foreclosure was wrongful because an assignment by which the foreclosing entity purportedly took a beneficial interest was void, thereby depriving the foreclosing party of any authority to foreclose through a trustee's sale. 

In a follow up case,...

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