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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102346
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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Been using property next to mine last 20 years and

Customer Question

Been using property next to mine for the last 20 years and I need to know the laws in new mexico concerning the fact that the lady that owned the property died and her family want s to sell it and know they say that they have sold it. My question is do I have any rights for using the property for so long without them being against it and also I have a signed letter from the lady that to her heirs that they were to sell the property to me So can I put a lien on the property until something is settled
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:
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I am sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please tell me whether the letter is notarized and/or has two signatures of witnesses? Probably not, but I'd like to rule this out, anyhow.
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No it is not notarized and it has here signature which has been veried as hers. Her heirs are very much aware of the letter plus other documents she signed at the same time frame back in 1994 and 2001 and a deed to some of the property that she signed over to us. ( which we paid for) She was of sound mind and knew exactly what she was signing. Her heirs tried to take some people to court that had gotten stuff from her and a judge ruled her of sound mind.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
I am afraid that this letter does not satisfy the requirements for a will, so it is not very helpful. It simply does not reach the necessary legal requirements for bequeathment. So it is moot, I am afraid.
In addition, the work done on the property is unfortunately not a way to claim interest.
Adverse Possession
Another way to get the title is adverse possession, commonly called "squatters rights."
"The establishment of title by adverse possession is said to be based on the theory or presumption that the owner has abandoned the land to the adverse possessor. It has also been said that the doctrine of maturing title by adverse possession under color of title is that where one, in the exercise of ordinary care, is induced to enter upon and improve land because he has some written evidence of title that would naturally induce a layman to believe that it vested in him what it professed to pass, it would be unjust to enforce the right of another who brings no action until the end of the statutory period." Brylinski v. Cooper, 95 N.M. 580, 583-84, 624 P.2d 522, 525-26 (1981) (citations omitted) (quoting 3 Am.Jur.2d Adverse Possession §§ 1, 2 (1962)).
A party claiming ownership of land by adverse possession must prove by clear and convincing evidence continuous adverse possession for ten years under color of title, in good faith, and payment of taxes on the property during these years." Marquez v. Padilla, 77 N.M. 620, 624, 426 P.2d 593, 596 (1967); see also NMSA 1978, § 37-1-22.
IF YOU FEEL that you fulfill these requirements, then the onus is on YOU to file a QUIET TITLE suit in court, claiming adverse possession. This is complicated by the fact that the property as already SOLD, if this is true, which may preclude such an action.
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