Ownership Issues Landowners Can Discover And Address With An Updated Survey

Passing down real estate from generation to generation is a time-honored tradition in many cultures, both here and around the world. If the bequeathing party has maintained good records and kept current on taxes and land records, this type of transition is usually smooth and free of problems. 

However, inheriting land can become much more problematic if the land records contain erroneous information or when they no longer reflect the most current property and ownership data. Those who expect to inherit property will want to consider having the survey and other important property information verified and updated as soon as possible to avoid experiencing any of the following issues. 

The potential for unrecorded claims

In situations where real estate deeds, legal descriptions, and surveys have not been updated regularly, there is an increased potential for unrecorded claims to be made.

For example, a relative not named in the will may try to claim all or partial ownership of the property. This problem can also occur in instances where a divorce has occurred and the former spouse of an heir or owner attempts to pursue legal action for ownership or compensation. 

Updating an existing survey can provide a legal description that will allow deeds to be corrected so that protective title insurance policies can be purchased to help avoid this type of problem. 

The potential for boundary disputes

Another common problem that often arises after someone inherits property and begins to make changes without updating the survey involves property disputes with neighbors. Existing surveys that are not updated periodically make it easy for fence lines and property boundary lines to become blurred or forgotten.

When surveys are updated, the new landowners may find that their property dimensions and boundaries differ from what they have been told by the bequeathing owners. An updated survey allows the property owner to prove where their property ends and begins and helps to support legal avenues for addressing difficult boundary line disagreements. 

The potential for unknown easements or encroachments

When a property survey is not updated properly, new owners may face unknown issues, including usage and utility easements, encroachments, and access or zoning issues. For example, updated surveys help to alert new owners about a neighboring landowner's access rights, such as a shared driveway, or when utilities and public works own easements to a portion of their property. 

These are just three of the reasons why an updated land survey is important for current landowners, as well as those that inherit property. To learn more about the importance of land surveying, contact a reputable land surveyor in your area.  


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