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Dan, Retired JD
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired attorney, general practice, with an additional background in financial planning,
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I received 80 acres of land in Macintosh county Oklahoma ...

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I received 80 acres of land in Macintosh county Oklahoma from the death of my Grandfather. This is surrounded by 50,000 acres of ranch land owned by a corp. My land is 4 miles from a public road and serviced by an unimproved trail. Do I have any rights of access to this land, and if not how do I gain access. The land was given to my grandfather in the 1903 indian allottments and the ranch caretaker has been hesitant to allow free access.


Under the language used by the Oklahoma, it looks like your remedy is to work to prove that you are entitled to an "Implied Easement" (in some states this is called an Easement of Necessity").

Here is an excerpt from an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision on this subject:
" In Story v. Hefner, 1975 OK 115, 540 P.2d 562, we said that an easement "is the right of one person to go onto the land of another and make a limited use thereof." Id. at ¶ 13, 540 P.2d at 566. Easements may be expressly created by deed, or by necessity, or prescriptive use, or implied in a deed. Id. We described an implied easement thusly:
An implied easement is a creature of common law. It is based on the theory that whenever one conveys property he includes or intends to include in the conveyance whatever is necessary for its beneficial use and enjoyment and to retain whatever is necessary for the use and enjoyment of the land retained. An easement by implication is a true easement having permanence of duration and should be distinguished from a 'way of necessity' which lasts only as long as the necessity continues."
See at Paragraph 17. (There is more in the case worth reading on this subject.)

The point here is that at one time the parcel you now own was part of a larger parcel, and that larger parcel had access to roads. At the point when the land between you and the road was separated from your parcel, the laws says that a permanent easement was implied granting you ingress and egress rights over that other land to/from the road.

So there should be some relief here for you, but it will almost certainly require that you go to court and file a an action asking that they declare an easement on behalf of your land. Doing this will get the easement judicially recognized, reduced to a writing, and in recordable form that can be recoreded against the respective properties with the register of deeds.

I can't see that this would be something you could do on your own, so utilizing an attorney would be appropriate. Also, you'll probably need to know how the series of transactions occurred over the years that left you landlocked so you can identify which part of the large current parcel owned by the corporation he easement should traverse (keep in mind that over time the corporation has acquired parcels that had been under individual ownership, so at the point when the implied easement was cerated, that land was a separate parcel and probably not part if this huge corporate owned ranch.

One thing strategically to keep in mind is that the corporate owner of the surrounding land could grant you an easement if they were so inclined. Your attorney may want to do his/her homework, but then communicate with the corporation before filing to say "We are preparing to file with ____ court to ask that they recognize and declare a permanent implied easement on behalf of my client. I feel pretty confident that he is entitled to that remedy. Your corporation will, of course,have to be named as a defendant in that suit. And then the court will place the easement where they feel is appropriate based on the law. If you would rather that we worked out our own arrangement so that he easement can be put in a place that is mutually convenient for you and my client, and so that we can both save attorneys fees and court costs, I would be open to that."

Also, I don't know if selling to them is something that you are considering, but if you are landlocked they more or less control your date and are practically speeking almost your only possible buyer. But if you can get an implied easement recognized for your property, then they have to compete against the marketplace for your property and the value will increase. Just a thought.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have any followup questions. If none, please remember to click on the ACCEPT link so that I may receive credit for working on this topic with you. (I'd greatly appreciate it!)

Thank you,



The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

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