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Burcky v. Knowles

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiffs’ predecessor conveyed two adjacent parcels to Defendant’s predecessor by two separate deeds, which included reservations of a right-of-way easement. The second deed included inheritance language. Plaintiffs’ sued for declaratory judgment to resolve easement rights. The trial court deemed that the first deed created an easement in gross because it did not contain words of inheritance.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    To create an easement appurtenant, a deed does not need to include words of inheritance.

    Facts.

    In 1934, Garland conveyed property to the Defendant’s predecessor by warranty deed, which reserved a right-of-way easement. In 1953, Garland conveyed the adjacent parcel to Defendant’s predecessor by warranty deed, which extended the right-of-way easement, but also stated that the easement was to pass to grantor’s “heirs and assigns.” Successors in title to the remainder of Garland’s land (Plaintiffs) sought a declaratory judgment to resolve easement rights over Defendant’s land.

    Issue.

    Whether a deed needs to include words of inheritance to create an easement appurtenant.

    Held.

    No. The trial court’s ruling is reversed. A deed does not need to include words of inheritance to create an easement appurtenant.

    Discussion.

    The 1934 deed conveyed an easement appurtenant, which ran with the land because the language in the deed created two separate tenements, to which the dominant benefits by use of an easement on the servient. The language in the deed entitling the dominant owner to use the right of way for any necessary purpose pertaining to the ownership to which the right-of-way is appurtenant was clear and unambiguous. Once an easement is appurtenant to a dominant, a conveyance of that estate carries with it the easement belonging to it, whether mentioned in the deed or not.


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