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San Diego Estate Planning: Safeguard Valuables

San Diego, California has many beaches and often bathers and sun bathers lose valuable items. In addition, San Diego homes have been remodeled for years in certain areas due to the lack of available land to build additional housing. It is imperative to protect your estate plan as well as your valuables. San Diego, California has many banks such as Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, San Diego County Credit Union and others and almost all have safe deposit boxes. Do not incur legal fees to defend your rights to your own property as happened below. While the result in this matter was for the owner of the residence there is never any guarantee of any legal result.

While installing a new driveway for a customer, the owner of a paving company and his employee unearthed a glass jar containing rolls of gold coins wrapped in paper. They collected, cleaned, and inventoried the gold pieces. The coins were worth many thousands of dollars.

At first, the finders agreed to split the coins between themselves, with the company owner retaining possession. After the two had a falling out over ownership of the coins, the company owner gave them to the customer on whose land they were found. The other finder then sued for possession of the coins.

The finder of the coins argued that under the “treasure trove” doctrine he should have the right to possess the found property against the entire world, except the rightful owner, regardless of where the property was found. The state court reviewed the law on found property and held that the landowner was entitled to possession of the coins, to the exclusion of all but the true owner.

The doctrine of treasure trove, and its use of a “finders keepers” rule, had never been adopted in the state where the coins were found. Even if it were otherwise, the court was ready to discard the rule as antiquated and unfair. The doctrine encourages trespassers to roam at large over the property of others in search of hidden treasure, contrary to the reasonable expectations of modern-day landowners.

Please feel free to e mail our firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation and we can assist with a complimentary consulation on estate planning and any related areas.

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