The Basics of the Doctrine of Adverse Possession

As an attorney who practices extensively in the area of real property litigation, I am frequently called upon to prosecute or defend cases involving a claim of adverse possession, and am approached by individuals who either have only a basic understanding of what adverse possession is, or who have formed misconceptions about what it means and how the doctrine is applied. This article is intended as a primer for non-attorneys — individuals who are interested in learning the basic contours of the doctrine of adverse possession as it applies in the state of Washington (although the law of adverse possession is similar if not identical in most states).