California Evidence Code 662 Requires Clear and Convincing Evidence to Claim Real Property Ownership Contrary to Record Title

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California Evidence Code Section 662 Clear and Convincing Evidence Standard

California Evidence Code Section 662 is a fundamental rule of California real estate law that prevents record owners from being subjected to meritless claims by others claiming to the equitable owner.

“According to the ”form of title’ presumption, the description in a deed as to how title is held is presumed to reflect the actual ownership interests in the property.” Carne v. Worthington (2016) 246 Cal. App. 4th 548, 556 (quoting In re Marriage of Brooks & Robinson (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 176, 184–185).

This is codified as California Evidence Code Section 662, which provides that: “The owner of the legal title to property is presumed to be the owner of the full beneficial title. This presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing proof.”

“This section applies ‘when there is no dispute as to where legal title resides but there is question as to where all or part of the beneficial title should rest.'” Coyne v. De Leo (2018) 26 Cal.App. 5th 801, 819, as modified on denial of reh’g (Aug. 28, 2018) (quoting Murray v. Murray (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1067). 

“The phrase ‘clear and convincing evidence’ has been defined as ‘clear, explicit, and unequivocal,’ ‘so clear as to leave no substantial doubt,’ and ‘sufficiently strong to demand the unhesitating assent of every reasonable mind.'” People v. Caruso (1968) 68 Cal. 2d 183, 190.

What this means is that record owners of property in California should not be scared by those making claims to their real estate. However, equitable owners who can overcome this presumption by clear and convincing evidence should not hesitate to consider their options.

If you are the owner of record title in a grant deed, quitclaim deed or otherwise showing that you are the owner or have evidence contrary to record title, contact a real estate attorney in California today to discuss your options to make a rightful claim to your property.

About Scott Talkov

Scott Talkov is a partition lawyer and civil litigation attorney in California. He founded Talkov Law Corp. after more than one decade of experience with one of the region's oldest law firms, where he served as one of the firm's partners. He has been featured on ABC 7, CNN, KCBS, and KCAL-9, and in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Press-Enterpise, and in Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. Scott has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 9 consecutive years. He can be reached about new matters at info@talkovlaw.com or (844) 4-TALKOV (825568). He can also be contacted directly at scott@talkovlaw.com.

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