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Legal/Equitable Title: Real Estate Quiet Title

In order to file a quiet title suit to determine the interests attached to a given piece of real estate, one first must  have standing to do so. The pertinent statute states in relevant part that Any person claiming any title, estate or interest in real property, whether the same be legal or equitable, certain or contingent, present or in reversion, or remainder, whether in possession or not, may institute an action against any person or persons having or claiming to have any title, estate or interest in such property, whether in possession or not. RSMo 527.150

In short, then, you must have legal or equitable title to the real property in order to institute a quiet title action. Thurman v. Ludy, 914 S.W.2d 32, 34 (Mo. Ct. App. 1995)  Legal title is straightforward: clear and enforceable title evidencing ownership of the property, which is most often a deed in this circumstance. Equitable title can be more problematic, particularly because it can be certain, contingent, present, in reversion, or in remainder. For instance, to make a claim to title via equitable conversion, the plaintiff/petitioner needs an enforceable contract with the property owner to claim equitable title. Bath v. Bath, 233 S.W.3d 742 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007).

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