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What is a legal description of land?

If you find yourself in a property dispute with one of your neighbors, the legal description of your property is your first line of defense in proving exactly what you own and how far your ownership rights extend.

Unlike your street address, your property’s legal description pinpoints the precise beginning and end of your ownership interests.

Legal description types

Proplogix explains that your legal description may be one of the following three types:

  1. Lot and block
  2. Metes and bounds
  3. Fractional

1. Lot and block

This type of legal description relies on the government’s rectangular survey system that breaks down counties and towns into a grid. It identifies not only your individual lot but also the block in which it lies, all in accordance with the plat map of your area.

2. Metes and bounds

This type of legal description most often comes into play if your property has an irregular shape. A monument or survey marker signifies the beginning of your property. The metes are your property’s boundary line measured between identified points. The bounds likewise describe your property’s boundary line and are usually used instead of metes for large acreages.

3. Fractional

A fractional legal description is the most difficult type to survey and understand. Here the surveyor must break down a section based on its certified corner records, the legal documents filed in your county.

Title insurance

If you or someone else discovers a defect in your property’s legal description, your title insurance company should protect you from any detriment or damages you may suffer because of it. Keep in mind that correcting a legal description can be a costly proposition, requiring a new survey.

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