Possess Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Possess, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Possess?

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History and Meaning of Possess

Possession is a fundamental concept in property law. The term "possess" means to have physical control or custody of an object, whether or not one owns it. For example, if you are holding a book that you do not actually own, you are in possession of the book. Possession is a critical component of property law because it affects the ownership of the object, and often the rights and responsibilities that come with that ownership.

Examples of Possess

  1. A homeowner possesses a house by living in and controlling it, including the right to sell or lease it.
  2. A renter possesses an apartment by occupying it and paying rent to the landlord.
  3. A thief possesses stolen property by physically holding or controlling it, regardless of whether or not they have legal ownership or right to the property.
  4. A joint tenant possesses a property by sharing physical control with another co-owner.
  5. A business possesses inventory by controlling and using it for operations or selling it to customers.

Legal Terms Similar to Possess

  • Control: Having the power to make decisions about the use and disposal of the property.
  • Custody: Holding physical possession or control of an object.
  • Access: The ability to enter or use a property or object.
  • Dominion: A level of control and authority over the property, sometimes indicating ownership.