My family owns about 9 acres of random land in Trelawny and wants to leave some of it to me. What do I do??

Some background: I'm US born, currently living in Asia doing IT work and know nothing about how land ownership or housing reality works in Jamaica at all. I know my mother has kept up with all the probate matters so there's no issue with the government as to who the land belongs to. My question is, are there any reputable companies that can help me remotely manage and maybe build up any land that I may wish to keep and not just sell outright (we have had a few offers already)for a fee. I've been to Jamaica a few times and have a few contacts out there but no one with the kind of knowledge I would need. Any advice at all would be great. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Advice

To prevent any problems in the future I would pay the cost of using a real estate lawyer in Jamaica. They can make sure legally all the proper transfers have been done correctly so no other person in the future could challenge your ownership. It would be terrible for you to have the land developed, something built and then ownership lost because a loophole let someone else claim ownership and win in court. Maybe I am being overly cautious but such things have and do happen in Jamaica and elsewhere.

Advice

I do Conveyancing and probate law, you aren’t being overly cautious. Adverse possession only takes 12 years and I’ve had dozens of cases from clients who’ve successfully squatted long enough to legally acquire the land and from foreigners in OPs position who lost land despite thinking they’ve kept up with probate matters

Definitely get an attorney. The fees are worth it. I would plug my firm but I’m a mod at this sub and I’m not comfortable with that conflict of interest.

Your attorney will be to arrange sale, or improvement of the land and some are creative enough to deduct their fee from the gains you receive from the land effectively allowing you to pay nothing out of pocket.

Advice

Not Jamaican but I’ve been through the process in 2019. You can look up your titles and taxes etc online if needed for a nominal fee but definitely engage a lawyer to assist with the paperwork.

Even if your paperwork says you’re good, get them double and triple checked because it’s not uncommon for there to be other copies of titles or disputes you may be unaware of. Mistakes can happen when there’s paperwork and human error involved.

If you’re getting a portion of a previously titled property, rezoning or splintering titles, you may need to get a surveyor or parish council involved IIRC and even NEPA (environmental agency) depending on what’s on the land and what changes are being made if it’s relevant to wildlife or forestry for example.

Squatting is the only other concern if you have no one watching the property or if it’s vacant.

If you’re developing, based on the experiences of my partner who is Jamaican Canadian and in construction, building anything while you’re not around comes with risks so make sure you engage an established company and have someone you trust act as your agent/QC/contractor on the ground.

If you’re selling, any decent real estate agent or developer would be your best bet.

I’m in Asia too now BTW. Definitely a challenge managing property from far away so best of luck.

Advice

That’s great and you already got some useful advice here. If you need an assistant or someone who can help you on the ground, email destinationjamaicaservices@gmail.com. They’ll provide the on-land assistance you need. Let me know if that helps.

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