I have a couple of questions about a deeded right of way across our property. I live in the state of Maine, and our deed includes a very vague access. I was able to trace it back as far as 1945. It states there is a “right-of-way reserved for the benefit of (Lumber Company A), its successors and assigns for access to land lying westerly of the within conveyed premises.” It also says that the “said right-of-way is to be located over and across the within conveyed premises in such manner as not to interfere with the owners herein”.
Lumber Company A does not exist anymore. Ownership of the property was transferred to a daughter of one of the owners of the company. The 100 acre parcel that the right-of-way was granted to was sold to a developer in 2000 or 2001, along with an adjoining parcel (which had been owned by another sister). The 100 acre parcel was landlocked at the time the easement was granted, but is not now, as it is part of a subdivision.
We have owned the property about 20 years and we have allowed access once, in 2 areas of our property, so the sister could harvest lumber from the property.
My questions are: Does the fact that the right of way was granted to a company rather than an individual change anything? In other words, does the right of way still exist? And which of the new property owners has rights to the easement? Since the original 100 acre parcel does not exist anymore, what happens to the right to pass? There are now 4 property owners that abut our property along that property line, and 7 property owners in all that now own what was the original parcel.
Also, my understanding is that “right-of-way” and “easement” have different meanings, at least in this state. It seems to me that because the original mention of it in the deed is so vague that it was intended as an easement, not a right of way. Can anyone tell me if the term “right of way” as used in the language stated above in or before 1945 would be similar to the current meaning of the term?
I’m sorry this is so long. Thanks for any help/ advice anyone can offer.