Category Archives: Legal & Equitable Titles

Redeeming Legal Title to Property?

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only th...

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only the designs of the $1 and $2 (the latter not pictured) are still in print. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of this blog’s readers wrote in part, “The federal citizens has a right to hold property, but due to his status and his use of legal tender [Federal Reserve Notes]  it appears he cannot hold the absolute title to or estate in the land as can white citizens and free inhabitants can (if they pay for the property rights with a lawful tender of gold or silver coin I would suspect.)”

My response:

Paying with gold or silver is not necessarily a perfect solution because you can’t buy what another man does not own.

For example, suppose you wanted to buy a house and a piece of land from me. If you paid me with gold and silver, in theory, you could buy both legal and equitable titles to the property.

But what if I had previously purchased the property with Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs)? I would apparently have equitable title to the property, but I would probably not have legal title to the property. Legal title would probably be held by the federal government and/or the Federal Reserve.  As a result of using FRNs, the land would fall into a trust relationship wherein I was the beneficiary and the federal government and/or Federal Reserve was the fiduciary.  I could “use” my land, but they would control it.

Assuming this “divided title” theory is valid, no matter how you paid me (gold, silver or corn cobs), if I only had equitable title to the property, it seems to me that I could only sell equitable title. I could not sell legal title (even if you paid with gold) because, as beneficiary, I don’t own legal title.

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