If our tree fell on neighbor’s property, who owns the wood?

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If our tree fell on neighbor’s property, who owns the wood?

There is a lot of firewood on the ground. Since it was our tree, can we take the wood?

Asked on July 13, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It was your tree, but it's one your neighbor's property, which means that to go onto it legally, you need their permission. This is a situation where instead of looking at rights, your best bet is simply to approach your neighbors and offer to remove the tree from their property for them...if they say yes, take it and it's yours. If they say no, it's probably best to try to arrange something acceptable to both; e.g. you'll split the effort or cost of cutting it up and share the resulting firewood. This is not a matter where you want to get into a conflict with your neighbor or potentially have the neighbor call the police on you as trespassers.

Also, did the tree cause any damage? If it was an old, sick, or damaged tree, that you should have known could fall, you could be liable for the damage it did.


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