3 Issues That Intersect With Real Estate Law

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Not all legal issues sit squarely in one area of practice. In particular, many issues involving property end up intersecting with real estate law even if they seem to be exclusively in some other domain. Let's look at three times you might need to ask for the help of a real estate attorney in addition to someone knowledgeable in another field.

Transferring a Property from an Estate

Suppose you've been informed by the executor of an estate that you've been named a beneficiary. Also, the grantor of the estate decided they wanted to give you a house. You'll have to deal with the executor and the estate issues on one end, but you'll need to take possession of the title, too.

As with any other property title transfer, you'll need to confirm that you can take a clear title for the property. While the executor should make sure there aren't any outstanding liens or debts involving the property, it's still wise to have a real estate attorney conduct an additional title search. Likewise, you may need assistance proving you have a right to the property's title and getting the paperwork done so you can take possession.

Environmental Regulations

Try as you might to avoid such conflicts, your property will interact with the surrounding environment. Oftentimes, which regulations are in force may depend on what does or doesn't come into contact with your property.

For example, a stream at the edge of your property might be a tributary of a protected watershed. The question of whether the laws protecting the watershed are enforceable on your land may boil down to proving or disproving that the stream crosses your property or goes into the watershed. It's not uncommon for this part of a case to land on the desk of a real estate attorney.


Property and taxation belong together like peanut butter and jelly. Many of the same enforcement questions from environmental law also apply to taxation. Likewise, there are often questions about the size of a lot, what's on it, and how local governments may tax everything.

Similarly, tax data about your house may be out of sync with reality and what's in the county register. A tax agency might claim there's a taxable structure on your land, and you may have to prove there isn't. This is never as simple as pointing to an empty area and saying, "See?"

Instead, you'll have to document the condition of the property. This may require conducting a survey and then entering the new information into your county's registry.