Establishing a claim of adverse possession in Kentucky

The Best Use of Land

If you had to distill our vast body of law around one core concept, it would be that the law protects our “pursuit of happiness,” as Thomas Jefferson immortalized the phrase in the Declaration of Independence. This means that the law will protect, encourage, and sanction the best and most valuable use of resources and property. Everyday life is organized around this concept.

To best understand this concept as it relates to the adverse possession of land, it is helpful to imagine an 18th century settler coming upon a promising tract of land. There is no apparent owner around, and our settler, eager to cultivate the land and to build a homestead, pours his labor into this project. More than fifteen years pass when the true owner comes to re-claim his land.

Who has the superior claim? The true owner may have a deed and may well have paid the taxes, however, he has turned his back to this property and not defended his title for this amount of time. The occupant, on the other hand, has worked the land – plain for all to see, defended it against other trespassers, and done so continuously for more than fifteen years.

Adverse possession claim

This scenario presents a classic claim of adverse possession. The law requires the occupant to prove up by clear and convincing evidence five factors in order to obtain a decree of title by adverse possession: (1) possession must be hostile and under a claim of right; (2) it must be actual; (3) it must be exclusive; (4) it must be continuous for a period of not less than fifteen years; and (5) it must be open and notorious.

A claim of adverse possession can be brought both to obtain title to property as well as to obtain title to an easement.

There are many additional considerations in presenting or defending against a claim of adverse possession.

Contact Us

It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced lawyer to handle your real estate litigation case in the Louisville Metro Area, Jefferson County or across Kentucky.

Call us at 502-688-5200 in the Greater Louisville area and across the state of Kentucky.
Contact Our Firm in Louisville, Kentucky.
For an initial consultation with a Louisville civil litigator, contact Pearson & Paris, P.S.C. We represent clients throughout Trimble, Henry, Oldham, Jefferson, Shelby, and Spencer counties in such cities as Louisville, St. Matthews, Lyndon, Prospect, Anchorage, Hurstbourne, Middletown, Jeffersontown, Shively, Crestwood, Goshen, Buckner, La Grange, Simpsonville, Shelbyville, Mt. Washington and Shepherdsville.