Subdivisions and Condominiums are the most common simultaneous conveyances for most local tax mapping agencies. In many systems these important features are lost in the tax parcels. Why should we care about simultaneous conveyances and go to the effort of tracking and mapping them in tax parcel systems?
What are Simultaneous Conveyances?
Simultaneous conveyances are created when one or more parcels of land are created at the same time, i.e. simultaneously.
When several parcels of land are created at the same moment in time, such as lots in a subdivision, several parcels in a will, or sections in a township, all parcels have equal legal standing; they were all created at the moment of the filing of the subdivision of the plat, at the moment of the death of the testator, or in the case of a U.S. PLSS Township at the time the plat was approved. (Brown's boundary control and legal principles By Walter George Robillard, Curtis Maitland Brown, Donald A. Wilson, section 11.3 p 301
This is important to legal boundary analysis because this means that the boundaries within the simultaneous conveyance all have equal standing and in most cases this means there will not be junior or senior rights within the bounds of the simultaneous conveyance. The implication for tax parcels is that the interior boundaries should not be differentially adjusted or moved but should be treated with equal weight.
The contrary to a simultaneous conveyance is a sequence conveyance. These are parcels of land that are created. “Sequential conveyances are those written in deeds in which junior and senior rights between adjoining parcels” (Brown's boundary control and legal principles By Walter George Robillard, Curtis Maitland Brown, Donald A. Wilson, section 11.2 p 301). For tax parcel editing the term remainder parcel, the portion of a parcel that remain after a new parcel is created, is often used to describe the sequence conveyance situation. The implication for tax parcels is that in a sequence conveyance the parent parcel is senior, it existed first and must get it’s land first, the second parcel is subservient to the parent parcel. If there is an overlap situation, the parent parcel land is protected first.
There are many other evidence and legal description nuances that need to be considered in resolving discrepancies that should be interpreted by a land surveyor but it is important to recognize the basic differences in these descriptions in the tax parcel mapping environment.
Another characteristic of Simultaneous Conveyances is that they do not overlap. With each new simultaneous conveyance a new system for describing land is created. If there are appparent stacked subdivisions the latest subdivision area supersedes the prior subdivision, essentially vacating the prior subdivision. There are also nuances to this rule, such as with public right of ways and whether or not an official vacation of plat needs to be filed, and state law may create some variability but this is a general operating principle. The implication for the tax parcel mapping is that the most current subdivision should be the one used to control the geometry of the tax parcels. As new subdivisions are recorded and stacked on top of prior subdivisions, the area previous described should be changed to reflect the new survey.
Tax Parcel Mapping Versus Title Search
In most tax parcel mapping systems, it is sufficient to map the currently active simultaneous conveyances. The tax map may need to be able to identify or base legal descriptions on the underlying subdivision lots or condominium units but it may not be necessary to show the title history or evolution of subdivisions that existed prior to the current plats.
However, if an application is a mapped representation of the title history then it will be necessary to address stacking simultaneous conveyances. In some jurisdictions the office that tracks legal document recording may use a tract index to index the documents. A tract index summarizes real property transactions and is typically available in the offices of Recorder of Deeds. Only a few states require their recording offices to maintain this type of index. Among these states are Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. In addition, some other states permit recording offices to maintain tract indexes (for example, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin). A mapped history of the simultaneous conveyances can provide the basis of these tract indexes.
In addition to document indexing, land surveyors need simultaneous conveyance history to complete boundary evidence and title boundary research. Having these records automated can increase the efficiency of historical document search for land surveyors and abstractors.
Understanding the intended uses and requirements of applications that will use the record of historical simultaneous conveyances will be important in the application and data design used to automate these records.