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What is a Quiet Title Action in Washington?

In Washington State, there is a type of lawsuit called a quiet title action. A quiet title action is a legal proceeding used to confirm or clarify the ownership of real estate. A quiet title suit can settle a dispute over who owns real property. It can also fix a technical error in the chain of title to real property. Sometimes a mortgage is not released, even after being paid. The goal of the lawsuit is to settle all known and unknown claims, thus “quieting” the title in a specific owner or owners.

In Washington, as in other states, ownership of real estate is established by title, and title ownership is evidenced on a deed that gets recorded with the local county records office. While the recorded deed for a piece of real property should always reflect the current owner, there are a variety of reasons why this may not necessarily be the case. If you recently purchased a piece of property – or if you have owned a piece of property for some time – and you have learned that the title records are incorrect, then you may need to file a suit to quiet title.

Quiet title cases require a judge to figure out what is fair between the parties given all the circumstances, and to balance the benefits and potential harms of their decision. This is called making an equitable judgment. A judgment in equity is different than a judgment in law. A judgment in law does not account for what may be fair or unfair, but simply and strictly follows the law and lets the chips fall where they may. A legal judgment may follow the specific wording of a statute, or the specific wording of a contract, but whatever the judgment is the parties have to live with it.

While a quiet title action typically takes around 8 to 10 weeks to complete, it can also take up to 6 months. The length of the process depends on your specific case. You’ll want to ensure that the right steps are taken to secure your legal ownership of the real estate. If you need assistance in taking the right steps, give us a call or text today. You can reach us at (206) 408-8158 or visit us online for more information at www.dallawfirm.com.

DAL Law Firm: What is a Quiet Title Action in Washington? 1

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