Types of Easement in Texas

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in Finances | 0 comments

An easement is defined as the legal right of an individual to use a certain portion of another individual’s property for a particular purpose. Easement laws differ from state to state, but in general there are four major types of easement: utility, private, prescriptive, and easements of necessity. As explained on the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., determining the nature of the easement is often the subject of dispute because easement law is poorly-understood by most people.

Utility easements are usually built into a title to provide access to utility companies and the government as needed. Private easements are when the property owner sells a part of the property to another person for a particular purpose, such as a private sewer easement. Prescriptive easements, on the other hand, are the open, persistent and continuous use of the property for a particular purpose for a prescribed period of time. Easements of necessity, as the term implies, are when an individual has no choice but to go on another person’s property, such as to gain access to their own property. This is sometimes called right of access.

Another type of easement which can be quite devastating to a property owner is adverse possession. It is possible for a trespasser to acquire a legal right of ownership over a property if the occupancy is without permission, exclusive, and continuous over a prescribed period of time, usually the same as for prescriptive easement. However, acquiring a prescriptive easement does not confer legal ownership to the user, nor does it require the user to pay property taxes.

In many cases, the property owner has no choice or has given permission for a particular use of the land, but retains control and ownership of the property when it is not being used for the prescribed purpose. Disputes arise when property owners feel that the trespass or easement is illegal, and the situation is frequently complex enough to require the knowledge of a real estate lawyer to sort it out during mediation or in court.

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Unwitting Participation in a Ponzi Scheme

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Finances | 0 comments

Scams are all over the place, but even before online scams became the richest prize for con artists, there were schemes that were so successful that they became a global phenomena without benefit of the Internet. One of the most famous of these was the Ponzi scheme, named after businessman Charles Ponzi who in 1920 conceived of the brilliant notion of using sleight of hand to make a bundle by juggling other people’s money.

Considering that it is nearly a century old, one would suppose that people would know better than to participate in a Ponzi scheme, but in fact because it is such a simple concept that can take many forms perpetuated by what appears to be legitimate businesses, it is still a matter of concern in securities regulation. The most recent case was filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in May 2014 against a fund manager based in Chicago, who had allegedly used the money from new investors to pay redemptions by existing client and using the excess for personal expenses.

The problem is that mere participation in a Ponzi scheme can land an investor in hot water. Financial institutions that have likewise been duped by a clever operator are especially at risk of criminal litigation as well as claims of breach of fiduciary duty and the like from investors. In the case of the fund manager, any financial institution that invested may also be named in any claim by plaintiffs as a participant in the scheme.

While Ponzi schemes are considered white collar or non-violent crimes, they nevertheless have long-term consequences for those charged with participation. It would infinitely be preferable to get out of it with nothing more than money lost.

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