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Eminent domain options

For landowners in America, acquiring your own slice of the American dream in the form of real estate is sadly not the end of the story. Under some circumstances, land you own may be forcefully taken away from you through "eminent domain" — but the process is not automatic, and you do have options if you know where to look. Like most legal processes, the sooner you seek qualified legal counsel and take action, the more room you may have to negotiate.

While the specifics vary from one instance to another, a landowner who is being subjected to seizure through eminent domain is generally given a window of time to properly file an appeal. The appeal may be against the taking or deal with the valuation of the property and the proposed monetary remedies offered by the party using imminent domain to take the land in question.

Landowners who experience eminent domain seizure are entitled to compensation if they are unable to successfully halt the taking of their land. In these instances, the landowner may present evidence to a court that the proposed compensation does not fairly represent the land. Once the compensation has been awarded, the landowner is also entitled to receive the payment plus any interest that may accrue if the payment is not made in a timely manner. Furthermore, land does not actually have to be taken under eminent domain to qualify for compensation. In some circumstances, if a governmental agency's actions adversely affect some or all of a parcel of land, a landowner may pursue compensation for the devalued land.

If you are facing the taking of land through eminent domain, you should consider enlisting the help of an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process of objecting or negotiating compensation. As with all conflicts, especially those that involve a governmental agency, heading into battle with a team at your side can help you navigate this tricky area and make sure that your rights remain protected throughout the process.

Source: findlaw, "Challenging Eminent Domain," accessed Jan. 12, 2017

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