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Legal Insider - The Wake of Irene

Hurricane Irene has left her mark - trees have fallen- now what? 

In this day and age of our litigious society and our complete neglect to remain friendly with our neighbors, the issue of trees has become more and more problematic.  If we lived in a perfect world and neighbors actually got along, a simple conversation from one neighbor to another noting a diseased or decayed tree would be remedied by the property owner wherein the tree is located acknowledging the risk and removing the tree.  If the property owner chooses to ignore the risk, a decayed tree on their property poses the risk that he or she will be exposed to liability.  You as a neighbor and abutting land owner do have the right to remove limbs and branches so much as they overhang on your property.    The other remedy is unfortunately a court action wherein you would have to prove the tree poses a danger to you and interferes with your use and enjoyment of your property and request the court order the removal. 

If a neighbor's healthy tree simply falls on your property during a major wind storm your neighbor is not liable as this is considered an "Act of God".  You in turn will have to make a claim under your own homeowners' insurance policy.

Someone once said to me, "The best neighbor is a 6-foot fence." I personally prefer Judy's recommendation below.

The bottom line, do not ignore your trees nor your abutting neighbor's trees and keep the neighborly lines of communication open. 


Judy A. Field, Esq. Law Office of Judy A. Field, P.C. 900 Cummings Center, Suite 306T Beverly, MA 01915 landline (978) 922-0330 cell (978) 500-9530 fax (978) 922-0661 email:

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