Legal descriptions by an EngineerPosted by ctompkins on April 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm
got an email from an engineer buddy of mine asking for advice on how to write a legal description for an easement. What would your response be?
- 27 Replies
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm
Offer to write it for him. Some non-payed time to do so, would be the better choice. That would show that your interest in the protection of the public had some importance to with you. Just the description, have nothing to do with the remainder of the document.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm
He also asked if it was necessary to go from point to point for the legal description, and followed by saying ‘can’t i just give a general dimension for the easement?’
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm
Tell him to purchase the new book on writing legal descriptions written by Wendy Lathrop and Steve Estopinal.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm
It depends on the nature of the easement. If it is an ingress/egress easement that follows a visible path/driveway then it would be sufficient to describe the easement as “a 20′ wide easement centered on existing driveway” or something to that effect.
If it is a variable width easement, it is usually better to describe it “point to point”.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm
Dont encourage others to write descriptions…just causes problems down the road. Offer to do it for him. I always look at a description of an easement from the aspect of having enough information to be able to reconstruct the location of the easement down the road. I am not sure engineers or even attorneys have that in mind.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm
Tell him to call this guy…
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm
…the nerve of that guy usurping our authority…..doesn’t he know how hard it is to get ‘reginstered’!?!?
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm
At least you must give him credit for reaching out for help.
Most will not ask a surveyor that.
My best effort is to get what they have done and take it and make corrections, sent it back and wait for all the questions.
That I only do for friends, good ones.
Non surveyors write easement descriptions around here. It falls in a grey area that allows most anyone that is employed at public works (water, sewer, electric, communication) to write easements.
The basic course and distance of the easement itself works most of the time.
There is one office that has a guy that goes out with a compass and a wheel, estimates boundary lines, drives stakes, and makes electrical transmission line easements. Every surveyor around has been ask to sign his work from time to time and I know I laughed him out of my office.
Even the good measured ones have a Problem that is usually the tie to the property, that never is correct as they do not actually have a reference to an actual monument and no bearing that is in direct relation the existing description and to what is on the ground. It is always a best fit situation.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm
He means no ill will, his boss is telling him to do this and his hands are tied to an extent. I told him I would be more than willing to look at it for him. Updates will be coming. I have been looking at the statutes and roles of Engineers vs. Surveyors to see if there was any clause banning engineers from writing legals. The only phrase that could possibly apply is that old ‘work within your areas of expertise’ clause.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm
I didn’t mean your engineer friend. I was referring to the unscrupulous Mohammed M. Siddiqui, PE whose note was posted above. I believe your buddy did the right thing by asking for advice. Still, I am not used to the idea of engineers writing legal descriptions. That should be done by a professional land surveyor.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm
I whole heartedly agree. Then again I believe that there should be legislation to support this idea as well as legislation to require and deed description over twenty five years to be surveyed and re-described by a licensed surveyor. $.02
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm
> Then again I believe that there should be legislation to support this idea as well as legislation to require and deed description over twenty five years to be surveyed and re-described by a licensed surveyor.
[sarcasm]Good luck getting lawyers on board with this….;-)
[/sarcasm]I hope everyone has a great day; I know I will!
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm
according to the State Board of Technical Registration, this engineer has let his license lapse.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm
FIRST BIG MISTAKE
you NEVER look for laws that says someone can’t do something . . . you look for laws(or board opinions), that says who “can” do something.
As I told one of our commissioners a few years back . . . “I’m willing to bet there are no laws that specifically says a person can’t rob a bank”.
Funny . . . about 3 months later his son was arrested(and then convicted), of robbing a bank . . . evidently he must’ve checked and found no laws that said he(or his live at home son), specifically, couldn’t rob a bank.
ANYWAY, half of our problems in MOB-COUNTRY arise because of what laws DON’T SAY.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm
If it were Texas or Oklahoma, you could tell him he is not authorized to do so and if he is a PE he could get disciplined and fined.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm
The best part of being a professional pirate, you’re always in good company.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm
i would say send it to me and i’ll write it for you this time. and then explain to him how bad a weak description can screw things up for the next guy not to mention the title problems it can create for the owner. then tell him next time something like this comes up keep me in mind and we usually charge $xxx.xx for something like this.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 10:21 pm
As a dual registrant, offer to help prepare it for him, but be aware of the liability you are assuming by helping with this. Of course, this depends on the size and complexity of the description.
One more thing… never refer to them as ‘legal’ descriptions… that implies practicing law w/o licensure. Always call them property or boundary or easement descriptions, something that does not imply legal stature.
- MemberApril 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm
I would tell him to go ahead and write it and send you a copy when he is finished with it for review. Red line the heck out of it and send it back suggesting that he stick to engineering and leave description preparation to those qualified to do so.
If he writes a good legal though, offer him a job…
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