When it comes to real estate transactions and legal matters,a property's legal description plays a crucial role.It serves as a precise and standardized way to identify and define a property's boundaries and characteristics.We will delve into the concept of a legal description of property,its importance,and the elements that comprise it.By understanding the components of a legal description,you will be better equipped to navigate real estate transactions and legal documents.
Understanding the Legal Description of Property
a)Definition:A legal description is a detailed and accurate way of identifying a specific property that is recognized and accepted by legal entities,such as courts,government agencies,and surveyors.It provides a precise definition of a property's boundaries,location,and other pertinent details.
b)Importance:The legal description of a property is essential for various purposes,including property transfers,sales,financing,zoning regulations,tax assessments,and boundary disputes.It ensures clarity and accuracy in legal documents and helps prevent confusion or ambiguity.
Components of a Legal Description
a)Metes and Bounds:The metes and bounds method is one of the oldest forms of legal property description.It relies on physical features and measurements to define a property's boundaries.It starts at a designated point of beginning(POB)and proceeds in a specific direction,using distances and angles to outline the property lines.
b)Plat Map and Lot-Block-Subdivision:In subdivisions or planned developments,properties are often described using plat maps.These maps divide land into lots,blocks,and subdivisions,with each lot having a unique identification number or name.The legal description typically includes the lot number,block number,and the name of the subdivision.
c)Government Survey System:The government survey system,also known as the Public Land Survey System(PLSS),is commonly used in areas that were once public domain lands.It divides land into townships,ranges,and sections,allowing for systematic identification and description of properties.Legal descriptions under this system include information such as township,range,section,and sometimes meridian and baseline.
Obtaining a Legal Description
a)Property Deed:The most common source of a property's legal description is the property deed.When a property is transferred,the legal description is typically included in the deed document.Property deeds are recorded with the county or local recorder's office and can be accessed for reference.
b)Surveyor's Report:In some cases,a surveyor's report may be required to establish or verify the boundaries and measurements of a property.A surveyor will conduct a survey,which includes precise measurements and landmarks,to determine the accurate legal description.
Reading and Understanding a Legal Description
a)Common Terminology:Legal descriptions often include specific terms and abbreviations.Understanding these terms is crucial to interpreting the description accurately.Common terms include"north,""south,""east,"and"west"for directions,"feet"or"meters"for distances,and"degrees"for angles.
b)Mapping and Visualization:Legal descriptions can be complex and difficult to visualize.Utilize mapping tools,such as property survey maps or online mapping services,to plot the property boundaries and get a clearer picture of its location and shape.
Importance of Accuracy and Verification
a)Professional Assistance:Due to the complexity and legal implications,it is advisable to seek professional assistance when dealing with legal descriptions.Real estate attorneys,surveyors,or title companies can help verify the accuracy of the description and provide guidance in interpreting legal documents.
b)Potential Issues:Errors or discrepancies in a legal description can create legal complications or disputes.