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Abandonment: Real & Personal Property

In suits involving real or personal property — e.g., conversion, replevin, quiet title, etc. — abandonment is sometimes utilzied as an affirmative defense against the person invoking property rights. In other words, a defendant will use it to say that a plaintiff cannot make a claim relating to the property because the plaintiff previously abandoned it. 

Abandonment consists of two elements: (1) an intent to abandon and the (2) external act by which the intention is carried into effect. Herron v. Barnard, 390 S.W.3d 901, 909 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). The intent to abandon and act of abandonment must exist concurrently. Intent may be inferred by evidence and may be demonstrated by conduct clearly inconsistent with any intention to retain and continue the use or ownership of the property. City of St. Peters v. Hill, 9 S.W.3d 652, 655-56 (Mo. Ct. App. 1999).