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Tips to resolve ownership disputes involving titles

Real estate disputes pop up every day around California. Most professionals recommend pursuing mediation to resolve the dispute, but when two parties believe they own a title, things can become complicated quickly. 

There are several ways you may see a dispute arise. It could be an error in the public record, or the property could have an undiscovered encumbrance that gives an unknown third party ownership over the building. Regardless of how the dispute came into being, it is critical for everyone involved to figure out a solution as quickly as possible. 

Acquire a title report

The title company will have documentation on who they believe is the rightful owner of the property. These documents essentially serve as an insurance policy to prove you own it when other people come out of the woodwork with false claims. 

Find other supporting documents

While documents from the title company come in handy, you can bolster your claim by securing other paperwork that proves you own the title. This can include notes, emails and other forms of communication from the title company proving they believe you to be the correct owner. 

Show the math

If a dispute still exists, then you need to show who precisely paid for all the expenses associated with the property. Showing that you made all essential purchases on the property and paid for maintenance tells a valuable story of who should rightfully own the title. 

Remember evidence code 662

Evidence code 662 is a new law that went into effect in California in 2014. It states, "The owner of the legal title to property is presumed to be the owner of the full beneficial title. This presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing proof." Therefore, in order for a person to overcome the presumption of title ownership, he or she must provide "clear and convincing" evidence that proves the contrary. 

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