Metes and Bounds Legal Descriptions
“Metes” refers to distance and “Bounds” refers to direction. When faced with a lengthy metes and bound description, the best way to read it is backwards. This allows you to identify where the parcel is located. For example, a parcel identified as the NE1/4 of the NW1/4 of the SW1/4 of the SE1/4, would be located as approximated in red above. For another example, a parcel identified as the W1/2 of the S1/2 of the S1/2 of the NW1/4, would be located as approximated in green. In addition, the description may call out the measurements of the boundary of the parcel. Arcs and Curves are used for irregular shaped parcels or lines.
Sections, Townships, and Ranges identify the parcel’s location. Each 24-mile tract is divided up into 16 townships. A township is roughly 6-miles by 6-miles. Beginning in the southeast corner of the 24-mile tract, corners six miles apart are established along the E-W standard parallel and the N-S meridians. From these corners, range lines are run true north to the next standard parallel, and township lines are run west to the next guide meridian. Note that the range lines converge in the north but the township lines remain parallel, always 6 miles apart.
Each township is then divided into 36 sections, a piece of land roughly one mile by one mile, or roughly 640 acres. The same process of establishing corners and running lines from the southeast corner of the township is used. Each section is then divided into 16 forties. These forties are further subdivided, and subdivided, and subdivided.
Note: No legal advice or suggestions are being given. The above is an excerpt only from an Underwriting Manual.
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