Eminent Domain

 

No one wants their property forcibly taken away from them by the government. But that is exactly what happens in the context of an eminent domain action. A municipality, county, or state agency decides that they need your property for a public use like a road, and all of a sudden your home is no longer yours. While there are few ways to stop it, there are steps to ensure that you receive what is called "just compensation" for your loss. This level of compensation is obviously very important because it's the final cost you'll ever receive for the property. While it's difficult to stop, an attorney can assure that the government follows the rules and pays you what you're entitled.

Condemnation

 

 

In the case of eminent domain the government actually seeks to condemn your property through the court system. First of all there must be a plan in place to use your property for a public purpose. A project must be approved prior to any state action. Most of the time you'll know when a proposed project is going to affect your property, but the first actual notice you get may be from the state alerting you that they've petitioned the court to condemn. At this first step you want a lawyer to make sure the government has done everything correctly in order to begin the process in the first place.

The Appraisal

 

 

The amount of just compensation the state offers you comes from an appraisal. Unless you dispute the amount you'll never get to see that appraisal. It's important to speak to an attorney in order to make sure you get a fair price, and not a low offer made to keep costs low for the state. Remember, you don't have to agree to the offer made. You can acquire your own appraisal taking into consideration factors the government may have left out. This is all you get for your home, so you want to make sure the check handed to you is fair and just.

Moving

 

 

The government successfully condemned your property and paid you a fair price for your loss. Now you have to relocate. The state is obligated to pay your moving expenses and certain amounts toward a new house or rental. Businesses may receive compensation for lost business or the costs of re-establishing that business somewhere else. An attorney can make absolutely sure you get what you deserve from the state for the loss of your home or business and the expense of moving somewhere else against your will.

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