Many Massachusetts property owners will discover that their property lines were drawn hundreds of years ago, with boundaries that are not clearly described or marked in the original and successive deeds. A Massachusetts real estate attorney can provide legal guidance regarding disputes that arise under these circumstances. An August 18, 2017 case demonstrates this issue in a land action between a Church and local Town.
Most Massachusetts towns were chartered before church and state were separated in 1833, when towns were chartered in order to support a church congregation. In the case, the Church was built on land conveyed in 1743. At issue was the ownership of the land on which the adjacent cemetery was located. The dispute arose after the Town announced its intention to move the cremains buried in one portion of the cemetery to another area in the cemetery. The Town asserted that it has record title to the cemetery through the 1743 deed. The Church also claimed that it holds record title pursuant to the 1743 deed, an 1899 deed, or in the alternative, through adverse possession.
Since the case involved the interpretation of conveyances in 1743 and 1899 by people who were no longer living, the parties agreed to present their arguments on a case-stated basis with the court allowed to draw appropriate inferences from only the available evidence and make its ruling. In these types of cases, the parties agree on all of the material facts from which the judge may draw inferences.