How the government can seize land through eminent domain

Owning real estate in Washington is the dream of many. However, it is important to know that under limited circumstances, the government may be able to take the property from you under the principle of eminent domain.

How the government can take your property

Both the federal and state governments can take your property if they determine they have a need for it. The idea being expressed here is that the public has rights to the use of an area that supersede the rights of an individual owner.

For example, you may be the owner of a large tract of farmland through which a local creek happens to run. The government may have plans to build a road with an accompanying bridge in the area. They may decide that this area on your land is the best place to put it. If so, they can use eminent domain to seize it.

The time to resolve your issues is now

The issue of eminent domain is one that cuts to the heart of the question of whether your land is separate or community property. For this reason, you need to resolve all of the various issues that relate to your ownership of this property. The time to do so is now before the government has a chance to seize the initiative. When this occurs, it may be too late and could complicate other legal matters, such as estate planning or property division in a divorce.

By law, the government must offer you a fair price for the use of your land. If you don’t agree to this amount, you have the right to file an appeal to challenge the process.