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5168 US Hwy. 31 North, MB#1

Williamsburg, MI 49690

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Philip A. Settles


Philip Settles has practiced law in Northern Michigan for over 30 years, appearing in Grand Traverse, Antrim, Kalkaska and Benzie with a wide range of expertise in litigation, criminal law, probate, real estate, corporations and estate planning. Whether litigating a matter or planning around litigation, Philip has the knowledge and experience to maneuver and adapt to the circumstances of our times in a practical manner. In fact, Philip is sometimes referred to as an expert in the practical.

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My dad and I purchased Uncle Ricky’s back 40 acres in 1985 as a crop lot and used the dirt lane to get in and out during planting and harvest.  Uncle Ricky died last fall and his kids sold his front 40 acres to a developer who gated off the lane.   

We called the number on the sign and spoke with the developer who was sympathetic but would only agree to take down the gate and allow us to pass for a very high monthly lease rate.  As an option I can use a logging trail on the property for access, but it is barely passable and very difficult to use for our purposes.  

Wonder if you think we should hire an attorney to square this away? 

  • Doug


            Under these circumstances, having used the property and the access for so many years it would be yours by adverse possession.  So then, rather then hire an attorney, it would be better to carefully remove the gate, sit it to the side so the owner can retrieve, and use the lane to tend to your farm.   There is a good chance the matter will go no further.  However, if the developer takes any action to stop your use, then that would be the time to hire an attorney to protect your property rights.

  • Phil

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