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We have been spending a lot of time lately helping people figure out exactly where certain legal descriptions are located. So much so we thought we would dive in and explain what they are and how understanding where they are can help you understand the bigger picture.

Legal Descriptions
Legal Descriptions

Legal Descriptions

So what is a legal description? According to USLegal it’s “Legal description is the geographical description of a real estate property for the purpose of identifying the property for legal transactions. A legal description of the property unambiguously identifies the location, boundaries, and any existing easements on the property. A legal description of the real estate is usually provided in a deed, mortgage, or other purchase document. It can also be obtained from a county recorder, tax assessor, or similar official.” Basically it’s the basis for land ownership in the USA so it impacts a lot of things. Especially when they are old and impact items current day.

Really old descriptions can be from the 1800’s. Here is one from 1911.

Old Mining Claim Description
Old Mining Claim Description

And a slightly newer one from the 1980’s

Legal Description 1980's
Legal Description 1980’s

So what do these look like? Do you have the original plat that was recorded with the description?


If you do not, OR if you want to see where several of these legal descriptions are in relation to one another we can plot them out for you. Seeing everything together in one map on an aerial is the easiest way to relate to the project.

This is also known as a meets and bounds description from a known point in what is known as “calls”. Several of these “calls” are strung together to describe the boundaries of a piece of land. Some descriptions can be pages long with some complicated angles and curves. Some can be as simple as the NW 1/4 of the NE 1/4 S 1/2 of section 9, Township 6 S Range 2 East.

If you know what all of that means and want a better way to view it or you would like some help making sense of it all, drop us a line we are more than happy to help decipher it all for you.