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Accession

Accession

In legal terms, accession refers to acquiring title to a property. Essentially, it occurs when a person who did not originally own a piece of property takes possession of that property and makes it their own. Accession can occur in several ways, such as through inheritance, gift, or creating something new on an existing property. An example of this could be when a person inherits a house from a deceased relative or when someone builds an extension onto their current home. In both cases, the property is modified somehow, giving rise to a legal claim of ownership through accession. It's important to note that the accession process can be complex and may require legal assistance to ensure that everything is done correctly. Overall, understanding the concept of accession is crucial for anyone dealing with property ownership and acquisition.


Accession is the legal term used to describe the acquisition of title to property that has been altered or improved by applying labor or materials. A property owner who has expended money and labor or materials to improve the property would obtain title to the improvements, even if the title of the original property owner did not include the upgrades. Generally, this concept applies whenever a portion of the property value is based upon the improvements, such as the addition of a deck to a house, or when the ownership of the improvements is unknown, such as in the case of hazardous waste disposal. The changes can be minor, such as painting rooms, or major, such as constructing a new building. However, it is important to remember that accession does not always grant legal authority or ownership to a property. In many cases, the owner of the original property must give explicit consent to donate the improved property to another person or entity. Without such permission, accession applies only to the improvements or additions, not the overall property itself.

Accession is an addition to the property accomplished through man's efforts or natural forces. When the acquisition is caused by human action, it may take the form of labor on the property, such as the addition or removal of land, or the addition of man-made or natural objects, such as planting trees or altering a natural object. The expansion is called an accession when natural forces, such as snow accumulation or rain, cause the addition. Accession is opposed to a derogation, a decrease in property caused by human action or natural forces. Accession is also known as 'accretion' and is commonly seen when land is eroded by a river or waterway, such as when a stream or ocean carries away soil. This type of accession is beneficial to the property owner and can be used to increase the value of the land. Accession may also refer to the possession of an object, such as when someone finds a thing on their property and gains control of it.


When it comes to accessing personal property, the accession process is important to understand. Understanding this process to document and manage your ownership rights is important. Accession is sometimes confused with the concept of "finding property," which is the acquisition of title to personal property that has already existed and has not been altered or improved. Finding a property is subject to a different set of laws and regulations than accession, which focuses more on the change in the property itself. For example, if you were to find a bottle of wine and bottle it on your own, the bottle of wine would be considered "accessioned" because you added labor or materials to it to create a new product.

For accession to be legally binding, the following criteria must be met:

  • The labor or materials applied to the original item must improve the value or quality of the item.

  • The person claiming accession should have exclusive control over the thing.

  • The item must not have been previously owned by someone else.


Additionally, accession must be done intentionally, and the improved item must be moveable. Accession of immovable property, such as real estate, can only be done through a legal process known as "addition." Accession is an important concept to understand when acquiring personal property, as it allows individuals to claim ownership of newly improved items based on their labor or materials. This principle is often used in cases involving patent law and copyright law, as it establishes the basis of ownership for items that have been created or altered. Therefore, it is important to be aware of this process and ensure that any labor or materials used to improve personal property are documented to claim accession properly.

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