When property changes hands, a lot of things can go wrong. All sorts of issues can crop up that make the true ownership of a piece of real estate legally questionable.
That’s when a quiet title action can be useful. A quiet title action is a legal proceeding used to settle the issue of ownership and eliminate any kind of “cloud” on the title. A title is said to be clouded when there are encumbrances or other claims that cast any doubt over someone’s property rights. A successful quiet title action will leave you with a clean and marketable title.
When are quiet title actions necessary?
A lot of times questions about property ownership only arise when an owner is looking to sell. Some of the situations that come up include:
- Unknown heirs: In estate cases, unknown or missing heirs, unclear wills and conflicting claims about the ownership of the property can all be common. A quiet title action may be needed before the property can be sold to settle the estate.
- Boundary issues: Sometimes a boundary dispute with a neighbor can lead to a quiet title action. When there are questions about who owns even a few feet of land, legal action can be necessary to keep the issue from spiraling.
- Easements and deed restrictions: Sometimes there are limits placed on how a property can be used or easements that permit someone other than the owner to access or use the land. A quiet title action may be needed to remove either of these that have long fallen by the wayside.
- Fraudulent transfers: It’s possible that someone forged a spouse’s signature when the property was sold decades ago – or maybe a former owner’s name was misspelled on a key document. While it seems like a small thing today, those have to be fixed to avoid potential questions about ownership.
If you have an issue with your property’s title that’s preventing you from moving forward with your plans for a piece of real estate, it may be time to seek legal guidance.