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Even when real estate boundaries are well established, land disputes between neighbors are common. These disputes can become aggressive quickly, so it’s important to have a plan in place and an attorney to contact as quickly as possible. Here are a few tips for navigating and solving land disputes with neighbors.
If a land dispute is inevitable, it’s always better to know as much as possible about the property boundaries in question at the outset of the controversy. A real estate attorney will need to have all the facts about the properties and the dispute before working on the case, so a professional analysis of the properties will be necessary. Analyses typically involve hiring a professional to survey and appraise the properties, as well as perform a full title search.
Litigation in land disputes is often time consuming and expensive. If the value and area of the property in question are insignificant enough, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest simply to work out the issue outside of the courtroom. Assuming relations between neighbors are friendly, meeting a few times to discuss the facts and reach a solution may be all that is required to solve the land dispute. On the other hand, if one or both neighbors are unwilling to discuss the issue politely, it will be quickly obvious that attorneys are needed.
When solving a land dispute becomes impossible due to uncooperative neighbors, it’s time to get a real estate attorney involved. The first step for a lawyer is usually to send a letter to the other neighbor to request action or to make a sensible settlement offer. If exchanging attorneys’ letters doesn’t resolve the dispute, it may be time to file an official complaint in court so that all the evidence can be examined. Remember, most land disputes end in settlements, and this may be the best option to avoid a lengthy and costly trial process. If you’re experiencing a land dispute with a neighbor, please consult The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque as soon as possible. Our office has helped many clients reach their desired results in real estate, bankruptcy, divorce, estate planning, and other legal matters. We also provide services to handle easements, adverse possession, subdivision, and cases involving forced sales or partitions. For a free, no-pressure consultation, contact us online or call (401) 490-4900.
Real estate agents have a lot to worry about in their day-to-day jobs. Whether they’re working for the buyer or the seller, the client’s concerns are usually enough to keep a real estate agent occupied. When it comes time to close, there is nothing worse than seeing a sale evaporate because of legal problems. Working with a good real estate attorney can help avoid this issue and save the client money in the long run. Here’s what every real estate agent should understand about closing a sale and why it’s critical to bring an experienced real estate attorney on board.
One of the major steps that must occur before a housing sale can be closed on is to ensure that there are no encumbrances on the property. Encumbrances can include tax liens, judgments, or claims to the title that may be held by others. A title search will help discover any of these problems during the closing process, but an attorney is the best party to address the issues so that they don’t derail the sale.
A good real estate attorney can do more than just move paper around. Lawyers are trained to negotiate and can provide a very effective backup for a real estate agent should any problems arise during the closing. If the home inspection reveals any issues that give the buyer a reason to seek a lower price, for example, a lawyer can help negotiate the best way forward to help ensure the sale goes through.
Another thing real estate attorneys are trained to do is review each and every document in detail. While real estate agents are familiar with escrow documents, it’s always a good idea to have an extra set of eyes to make sure that everything is in order. Minor mistakes that the average reader might skim right over can prove costly later on, and the cost of hiring a real estate attorney to double- and triple-check everything is pennies on the dollar compared to potential future liability.
The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque provides experienced and professional legal services for real estate transactions in Rhode Island. With over 20 years of experience in commercial and residential real estate, we can help mitigate some of the thornier issues that may come up in the closing process. Contact us for a consultation today.
According to Forbes, over half of all Americans don’t have even a basic estate plan in place. Although most people probably don’t think of making plans for their assets after death a priority, it’s an important consideration for adults of all ages and stages of life. An experienced estate planning attorney can help clients understand and organize living trusts and wills. While both documents serve the purpose of naming beneficiaries for property, they also have individual features that are useful.
The majority of clients that choose living trusts do so to avoid probate. This is the court process that a will must go through to allow distribution of assets by the executor. Living trusts make the process faster since the successor trustee does not have to go through the court. Instead, he or she pays the debts and distributes assets on their own according to written instructions from the original trustee. While drafting a living trust may involve a bigger up-front investment than drafting a will, the ability to avoid court often avoids an excess financial expense. A living trust allows the client to name someone to handle property in the event of incapacitation and can make the process of handling an estate, particularly a large one, easier for loved ones after death.
For those with young children, a will is usually the more popular option. Although the execution of a will does require the probate court process, it is also unlike a living trust in that it allows clients to name guardians for young children and establish managers for the underage beneficiaries’ property. Additionally, those with little property or extensive debts may find a will to be a better option, as wills specifically instruct the executor on how to pay taxes and debts. Creating a will with an estate planning attorney is a much less complex process than drafting a living trust, and the investment may also be significantly less.
Trying to decide whether you need a living trust or a will? The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque, an experienced estate attorney, can help. We know how confusing the process can be. Rely on our guidance to help you make legal decisions with confidence. Contact us online or by calling (401) 490-4900 to schedule your consultation today.
Purchasing real estate, whether it’s a home, investment property, or commercial space, is a major transaction that should only be entered into after careful consideration and due diligence. One of the most important aspects of that due diligence is ensuring that the seller actually has, and can convey, clear title to the property. But even after a search, unexpected problems can arise that ‘cloud’ title down the road. Title insurance protects buyers from the negative consequences of problems with title.
Title to a piece of property is the right, or bundle of rights, to possess and use the property. In most real estate transactions, title is conveyed from buyer to seller via a warranty deed, which basically means the seller promises that he or she owns the property free and clear of any liens, easements, or adverse claims from other people who might have an interest in the property. When a buyer purchases a title insurance policy, the insurer conducts a search to make sure there are no problems with the seller’s title, and agrees to compensate the buyer for their loss should an issue of title arise in the future.
Title insurance is a textbook example of something that’s better to have and not need than need and not have. While plenty of real estate transactions come off without any title issues, the amount of money involved in a real estate purchase makes it very prudent to invest in title insurance. A mortgage lender will almost always require title insurance covering the lender, but it’s a good idea for the buyer to purchase their own policy (the lender’s policy only covers their loss). Things like unknown heirs, ‘wild’ deeds outside the chain of title, or errors in the recording and/or indexing of chain of title are common enough that they should be protected against. Prices vary by state, but title insurance can generally be purchased for $1,000 to $4,000. Compared to the potential loss if someone appears with better title, it’s an advisable hedge that’s worth the cost.
A real estate purchase is too important to leave anything to chance. Protect your investment and gain peace of mind by working with an experienced real estate attorney at The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque. Stephen P. Levesque has more than 20 years of experience counseling clients in real estate transactions along with other practice areas such as estate planning and probate law. Call (401) 490-4900 for a free consultation today.
Bankruptcy can be a viable solution for helping individuals and businesses eliminate or restructure debts that they can’t afford to repay. However, there are consequences. A bankruptcy can remain on credit reports for up to a decade, which makes getting a loan difficult. For some, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but it’s important to understand each type of bankruptcy before making a decision.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge most unsecured debts. Secured debts, including alimony, child support, taxes, and student loans, cannot be discharged. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can temporarily stop the foreclosure process, but debtors will need to catch up on their mortgage payments to avoid losing their homes. People whose income is above the state median may not qualify, and debtors choosing Chapter 7 won’t be able to file for this type of bankruptcy again for eight years. The process takes about four months to complete, and some assets may have to be sold to help repay creditors.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors set up a payment plan to repay all or most of their debts. Payments will be made over three or five years. Most remaining unsecured debts will be discharged after the repayment period. This type of bankruptcy allows debtors to keep their assets. It can also put a stop to the foreclosure process, allowing past-due mortgage payments to be made through the repayment plan. There are no income limitations for Chapter 13 bankruptcies, but secured and unsecured debts can’t exceed certain amounts. This form of bankruptcy falls off of a debtor’s credit report after seven years and can be filed for again in two years. Individuals considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy should hire a bankruptcy attorney to help them submit their repayment plans in court.
Two additional types of bankruptcy, Chapter 11 and Chapter 12, also seek to eliminate or restructure debt. Corporations and large businesses typically file for Chapter 11 bankruptcies; while farmers and fishermen generally choose Chapter 12 because of its higher debt limits, flexible repayment plans, and other benefits.
Despite the prevalence of misinformation about bankruptcy, it can be a useful tool. If you’re looking for a way to restructure your debt, let attorney Stephen P. Levesque help you decide if bankruptcy is your best option. He can answer your questions, recommend a course of action, and help you navigate the legal process. To schedule a consultation, call The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque at (401) 490-4900 or contact us online.
At our law firm, we promise you knowledge, compassion, and experience. Since 1997, his years of courtroom experience means you will know all your options and you will have a lawyer with the experience to represent you no matter how complicated your case may be. Stephen will fight for you and fight for your best interests. This results in exceptional representation. Stephen is that lawyer you know you can count on to stand by you. Whether at court, during negotiations, or through every legal document, motion, or pleading he prepares, Stephen is aggressively advocating for you. Stephen uses his insight, knowledge, and experience to provide valuable legal information to many people with his radio show on News Talk 630 WPRO. Whether it’s a large or small legal matter, he offers helpful advice that can point listeners in the right direction.