Unknown Defendants Complaint

 Complaint to Quiet Title by Adverse Possessor with Unknown Defendants
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Control #:
US-02716BG
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Description texas adverse possession pleading form

A quiet title action is a civil lawsuit brought for the purpose of determining conflicting claims to real property. The action affects only those properties identified in the complaint. The action can target specific individuals who have or may claim an interest in the property (sometimes referred to as a quasi in rem proceeding); and it can sometimes be expanded to include all persons, known and unknown, who might have some interest in the property (an in rem action). A quiet title action, when properly conducted in accordance with statutory and constitu¬tional requirements, can resolve all claims and conflicts regarding the property in a single proceeding.

Most quiet title actions are based on adverse posses¬sion, in which the plaintiff alleges that he and his predecessors-in-interest have openly and notoriously claimed the property over a period of years and have paid the property taxes. Title to land can be acquired by holding it adversely to the true owner for a certain period of time. In this case, the person in possession gains title by adverse possession. The person in possession automatically becomes the owner of the property even though the person had no lawful claim to the land. In order to acquire title in this manner, possession must be actual, visible, exclusive, and continuous for a period of time. In Mississippi, the period of time is ten years. State statutes vary with regard to this period of time.

In addition to identifying adverse claimants, the plaintiff must undertake a diligent effort to give them notice of the action so that they can defend themselves. Since courts do not favor forfeitures of property interests, the plaintiff must satisfy both statutory and constitutional requirements for notice and due process. The best form of notice is personal service on the defendant(s). If a defendant cannot be served personally, states have enacted laws outlining the minimum procedures to be followed for constructive service of process on unknown or claimants that cannot be located. These minimum procedures may require mailing notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of a claimant; giving notice to the secretary of state for a defunct corporation; posting notice on the land; and publishing notice of the complaint in a local newspaper.

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