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Through a series of unfortunate events, Barney is now facing many legal issues. First, does Barney have sole ownership of his mountain property as the single, living owner of a joint tenancy property; how is he affected by the lien Opie has taken against it? Second, as Barney has not been to the property in over twenty years, does Ernest now have a valid claim to the land? Third, what action, if any, can Barney take to maintain possession of his beach property that has been claimed by the government under eminent domain. Finally, who is responsible for the theft of Barney’s classic car, and how will he be compensated for his property?
Property that is owned under a joint tenancy with right of survivorship is property that has multiple owners with equal, undivided interests in the whole. With this form of ownership, upon the death of each owner, the interest in the land is transferred equally to the surviving owner(s) of the property (Kubasek, Brennan, Browne, 2012, p.377). The law varies from state to state on adverse possession, which is “acquiring ownership of realty by openly treating it as one’s own, with neither protest nor permission from the real owner, for a statutorily established period of time” (Kubasek, 2012, p.382). In North Carolina law, Code Section 1-38; 1-40, the time period required for occupation is 20 years and color of title 7 years. Section 1-41 allows a rightful owner to bring action against a squatter within one year of re-entry to the property (N.C. Gen. Stat.). “Eminent domain is the constitutional right of the government to take private property, upon payment of just compensation, for a purpose that will benefit the general welfare” (Kubasek, 2012). The courts have ruled, most notably in Kelo v. City of New London, that the government can invoke eminent domain to acquire land that is to be developed by a private company so long as there will be some sort of public use (Kubasek 2012). The creation of jobs, along with entertainment for...
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