Quiet Title Proceedings, also known in New York State as “Article 15” Proceedings, often arise out of uncertainty, or a dispute, about the ownership of land or the precise boundaries of a parcel. Related areas that often arise in this context are Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easements, as well as fraudulent transfers and ancient easements.
In order to sell or finance real estate, establishing clear title is essential to its marketability. A cloud on title can also present a serious defect that interferes with insuring the property. Quiet Title proceedings are also helpful following a judicial sale at foreclosure, in which the winning bidder, who typically has only received a Quitclaim deed, wants to confirm absolute ownership.
A quiet title action is brought by anyone who claims an interest in the property, usually represented by an attorney. In this type of court proceeding, the claimant gives notice to anyone who may also have a claim on the property. Because these other claimants may be unknown, such as potential heirs to an estate that was closed many decades ago, the forms of notice and publication are often directed by the Court to ensure fairness. Ultimately, after reviewing the evidence presented by the would-be owner, and any defenses that may be submitted, a judgment is issued that confirms ownership and is binding as to all parties; this includes unknown parties who neglected to come forward and assert an interest.
Often, particularly in matters concerning quite old title defects, potential claimants simply fail to come forward in the case and are thereafter barred from ever making their claim.
The Wilkes Law Group has a wealth of experience in this procedurally complex area of law, working on behalf of individuals, corporations, land trusts and other not-for-profit organizations.