Sec. 13. Real Property in each State is governed by the law of that State, except as to property the title to which is in the government of the United States.
Sec. 14. Community Property is that acquired by husband and wife, or either, during marriage, when not acquired as the separate property of either.
Sec. 15. Curtesy is the life estate which a husband has in the property of his wife after her death.
Sec. 16. Dower is the life estate which the wife has in her husband's property which was acquired during their marriage, and usually means one-third of the estate.
Sec. 17. Title is defined to be the means whereby the owner has just possession of his property.
(1.) A Perfect Title is one that is good and valid beyond all reasonable doubt. It should be free from litigation, palpable defects and grave doubts, should consist of both the legal and the equitable title, and should be fairly deducible from the public records.
(2.) Titles are good, marketable, doubtful or bad. A good title is one which entitled the owner of the property or estate to the lawful possession thereof.
(3.) A Marketable Title is one which a court of equity would consider to be so clear that it would enforce the acceptance of such title by a purchaser.
(4.) A Doubtful Title is one which a court of equity would not enforce and yet one which would not be defective enough for a court to declare bad. A bad title would convey no property whatever.
Sec. 18. Under the English law the original source of title is in the king, and under our laws it is in the government of the United States. |In evidence of such original title, the government issues a written instrument called a patent. In some instances, notably in the case of the State of California, some of the titles originated in a prior form of government and were confirmed by the United States. The territory now comprising the State of California was acquired from the Mexican Republic, February 2, 1848, by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. All rights or titles to land acquired by private parties or municipal corporations, under the Spanish or Mexican Governments, prior to the above mentioned treaty, were by such treaty recognized and granted, and subsequently were officially ascertained and settled by a Board of Land Commissioners, from whose decision appeal could be taken to the Federal Court. Letters patent of the United States were issued upon final decision in favor of the claimant. These patents have been held not to create a new title but to confirm and establish the former title. All lands in California, the title to which were not so confirmed by the Board of Land Commissioners or the Federal Court, became absolutely the property of the United States.
Sec. 19. Acquisition of Land, or Acquiring Title. Lands are acquired:
(1.) By occupancy, or the settling upon and holding of lands for the terms prescribed by the laws of the several States (from ten to twenty years). Such occupancy confers a sufficient title except as against those who have a better title to the same premises. Such occupancy must be an "adverse possession," as it is called; that is, the party in possession of the premises must be there under some claim of right, and his possession of the premises must be actual, open, notorious and continuous during the whole period which the law says a man must be in possession in order to acquire title in that way. A person who acquires title in this manner is generally called a "squatter." Title to the public lands cannot be acquired by a "squatter," as the statute of limitations does not run against a State or against the United States. Adverse possession is a sort of negative title which deprives others of the power of ousting the occupant.
(2.) By Accretion. Where land forms by imperceptible degrees upon the bank of a stream, either by accumulation of material or receding of the stream, such land belongs to the owner of the bank. This process is called Alluvion. Any property affixed by one person to the land of another, without an agreement permitting its removal, belongs to the owner of the land.
(3.) By Transfer. A transfer is an act of the parties, or of the law, whereby the title to property is transferred from one living person to another. Any person claiming the title to real property may transfer it, although at the time it may be in the adverse possession of another. The party making the transfer is called the transferrer and the party receiving the transfer is called the transferee. A transfer in writing is called a grant, or conveyance, or bill of sale, and vests in the transferee the actual title to the thing transferred, with all its incidents, unless a different intention is expressed. The transfer, however, of the incident to a thing will not transfer the thing itself: thus, the transfer of a farm will also transfer a well of water in it; but the transfer of the well of water would not transfer the farm.
(4.) By Succession, or the coming in of another to take the property of one who dies without disposing of it by will. This is also termed descent, or hereditary succession, and is the title the heir at law acquires upon the death of his ancestor. The law of descent has reference to real estate, which, if not disposed of by will, descends to the heirs; the law of distribution has reference to personal property, which if not bequeathed, is to be distributed among the next of kin according to the statutes of distribution.
(5.) By Will, or the disposition of real or personal property by a person, called the testator, by his last will and testament, to take effect after his death.
Sec. 20. Personal Property includes all movable property such as household furniture, monies, stocks and bonds of corporations, live stock, evidences of debt, etc.
Sec. 21. Limitations of the Subject. The subject of real estate is extensive and intricate, particularly with respect to some sub-divisions of it, such as future estates, contingent remainders, descent and distribution and the like, and the scope of this work in relation to real estate in general is necessarily limited to such definitions and data as will enable the student or reader to follow intelligently the principal topic discussed, namely, the buying and selling of real estate.