Deed

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In common law, a deed (anciently "an evidence") is any legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions, sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring (conveyancing) title to property. The deed has a greater presumption of validity and is less rebuttable than an instrument signed by the party to the deed. A deed can be unilateral or bilateral. Deeds include conveyances, commissions, licenses, patents, diplomas, and conditionally powers of attorney if executed as deeds. The deed is the modern descendant of the medieval charter, and delivery is thought to symbolically replace the ancient ceremony of livery of seisin. [1]

Contents

The traditional phrase signed, sealed and delivered refers to the practice of seals; however, attesting witnesses have replaced seals to some extent. Agreements under seal are also called contracts by deed or specialty; in the United States, a specialty is enforceable without consideration. [2] In some jurisdictions, specialties have a liability limitation period of double that of a simple contract and allow for a third party beneficiary to enforce an undertaking in the deed, thereby overcoming the doctrine of privity. [3] Specialties, as a form of contract, are bilateral and can therefore be distinguished from covenants, which, being also under seal, are unilateral promises.

Requirements

At common law, to be valid and enforceable, a deed must meet several requirements:

Conditions attached to the acceptance of a deed are known as covenants. A deed indented or indenture [5] is one executed in two or more parts according to the number of parties, which were formerly separated by cutting in a curved or indented line known as the chirograph. [6] A deed poll is one executed in one part, by one party, having the edge polled or cut even, and includes simple grants and appointments.

Deeds of conveyance

General and special warranty

The original 1636 Indian deed creating the Colony of Rhode Island signed by Native American Chief Canonicus to Roger Williams Providence, Rhode Island, Original Deed.jpg
The original 1636 Indian deed creating the Colony of Rhode Island signed by Native American Chief Canonicus to Roger Williams

In the transfer of real estate, a deed conveys ownership from the old owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee), and can include various warranties. The precise name and nature of these warranties differ by jurisdiction. Often, however, the basic differences between them is the degree to which the grantor warrants the title. The grantor may give a general warranty of title against any claims, or the warranty may be limited to only claims which occurred after the grantor obtained the real estate. The latter type of deed is usually known as a special warranty deed . While a general warranty deed was normally used for residential real estate sales and transfers, special warranty deeds are becoming more common and are more commonly used in commercial transactions.

Bargain and sale deed

A third type of deed, known as a bargain and sale deed, implies that the grantor has the right to convey title but makes no warranties against encumbrances. This type of deed is most commonly used by court officials or fiduciaries that hold the property by force of law rather than title, such as properties seized for unpaid taxes and sold at sheriff's sale, or an executor.

Quitclaim deed

A so-called quitclaim deed is (in most jurisdictions) actually not a deed at all—it is actually an estoppel disclaiming rights of the person signing it to property.

Deed of trust

In some jurisdictions, a deed of trust is used as an alternative to a mortgage. A deed of trust is not used to transfer property directly. It is commonly used in some states — California, for example — to transfer title to land to a “trustee”, usually a trust or title company, which holds the title as security ("in escrow") for a loan. When the loan is paid off, title is transferred to the borrower by recording a release of the obligation, and the trustee's contingent ownership is extinguished. Otherwise, upon default, the trustee will liquidate the property with a new deed and offset the lender's loss with the proceeds.

Deeds as alternatives to bankruptcy

Sanad

A sanad issued by the governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during the British Raj Narain 1936.jpg
A sanad issued by the governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during the British Raj

Sanad, also spelt as sunnud, was a deed granted to the rulers of native princely states in British India confirming them in their ruling position in return for their allegiance to the British Raj.

Sanad of adoption

Since the extinction of the royal bloodline would be a ground for annexation of a principality by the British, [8] some rulers were also granted sanads of adoption. Devised as a reward for loyalty to British rule in India, especially after the Indian rebellion of 1857, such deeds gave a ruler the right to adopt chosen heirs from local noble families in case of lack of direct issue. [9] Among the rulers that were given sanads of adoption, Takht Singh, Jaswant Singh of Bharatpur, as well as the rulers of Nagod State, Samthar State and the Chaube Jagirs are worth mentioning.

Structure

The main clauses of a deed of conveyance are:

Recording

Usually the transfer of ownership of real estate is registered at a cadastre in the United Kingdom. In most parts of the United States, deeds must be submitted to the recorder of deeds, who acts as a cadastre, to be registered. An unrecorded deed may be valid proof of ownership between the parties, but may have no effect upon third-party claims until disclosed or recorded. A local statute may prescribe a period beyond which unrecorded deeds become void as to third parties, at least as to intervening acts.

Joint ownership

Ownership transfer may also be crafted within deeds to pass by demise, as where a property is held in concurrent estate such as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" (JTWROS) or "tenants by the entirety". In each case, the title to the property immediately and automatically vests in the named survivor(s) upon the death of the other tenant(s).

In most states joint tenancy with the right of survivorship requires all owners to have equal interests in the property, meaning upon sale or partition of the property, all owners would receive an equal distribution of the proceeds.

Joint ownership may also be by tenants in common (TIC). In some states, joint ownership is presumed to be as tenants in common unless the parties are married and the deed so states or the deed sets for joint tenants with right of survivorship. Upon death, the decedent's share passes to his or her estate.

A life estate is the right to use, possess and enjoy the property for a period of time measured by the natural life of a person or persons. When all life tenants are dead, the remainderman holds full title.

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship vs. joint tenants in common

When deeds are taken as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) or joint tenants in common (TIC), any co-owner can file a petition for partition to dissolve the tenancy relationship. JTWROS deed holders always take the property in equal shares; therefore, if the partnership is dissolved through partition, the proceeds must be equally distributed between all of the co-owners without regard to how much each co-owner contributed to the purchase price of the property. No credits would be allowed for any excess contributions to the purchase price. For example, if A and B co-own property as JTWROS and A contributed 80% of the purchase price, A and B would still receive equal distributions upon partition. On the other hand, TIC deed holders may be granted at partition a credit for unequal contributions to purchase price. During either partition, credits may be awarded to any co-owner who may have contributed in excess of his share to the property expenses after taking deed to the property. Credits may be allowed for utilities and maintenance; however, credits for improvements may not be allowed unless the improvements actually added substantial value to the property.

Pardon as deed

In the United States, a pardon of the President was once considered to be a deed and thus needed to be accepted by the recipient. This made it impossible to grant a pardon posthumously. However, in the case of Henry Ossian Flipper, this view was altered when President Bill Clinton pardoned him in 1999.

Title deed

The United Kingdom, England and Wales operate a 'property register'. Title deeds are documents showing ownership, as well as rights, obligations, or mortgages on the property. Since around 2000, compulsory registration has been required for all properties mortgaged or transferred. The details of rights, obligations, and covenants referred to in deeds will be transferred to the register, a contract describing the property ownership.

Difference between a deed and an agreement

The main difference between a deed and an agreement is that the deed is generally signed by only one person / party. Examples of a deed are deeds of hypothecation for creating charge on movable properties in favour of the banks/financial institutions etc.

An agreement by its name suggests that there should be at least two parties signing/approving the same. Examples of an agreement are agreement to sale, loan agreement etc.

At common law, ownership was proven via an unbroken chain of title deeds. The Torrens title system is an alternative way of proving ownership. First introduced in South Australia in 1858 by Sir Robert Torrens and adopted later by the other Australian states and other countries, ownership under Torrens title is proven by possession of a certificate of title and the corresponding entry in the property register. This system removes risks associated with unregistered deeds and fraudulent or otherwise incorrect transactions. It is much easier and cheaper to administer, lowering transaction costs. Some Australian properties are still conveyed using a chain of title deeds – usually properties that have been owned by the same family since the nineteenth century – and these are often referred to as 'Old System' deeds.

Wild deeds

A deed that is recorded, but is not connected to the chain of title of the property, is called a wild deed. A wild deed does not provide constructive notice to later purchasers of the property, because subsequent bona fide purchasers cannot reasonably be expected to locate the deed while investigating the chain of title to the property. Haupt has stated that

Because title searching relies on the grantor/grantee indexes, it's possible that a deed won't be discovered even though it was recorded. "Example: Atwood sells his land to Burns, but Burns does not record his deed. Burns later sells the land to Cooper, and Cooper records her deed. But because the previous deed (the deed from Atwood to Burns) was not recorded, Cooper's deed is outside the chain of title. In a title search, someone looking up Atwood's name in the grantor index would find no indication that Atwood conveyed the property, and nothing would lead the searcher to Cooper's deed." A deed that is outside the chain of title is called a wild deed. The general rule is that a subsequent purchaser is not held to have constructive notice of a wild deed. In the example, Cooper's title is unprotected against subsequent good faith purchasers. Suppose Atwood were to fraudulently sell the same property to another person, Dunn. A court would rule that Dunn has good title to the property, not Cooper. [11]

A wild deed has been described as a deed "executed by a stranger to the record title hung out in the air like Mahomet's coffin." [12] Mahomet is an archaic spelling of Muhammad. There is a legend that the Prophet Muhammad's coffin was suspended without visible supports, from the ceiling of his tomb, just as a wild deed just hangs there, not touching the chain of title. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

In English law, a fee simple or fee simple absolute is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. A "fee" is a vested, inheritable, present possessory interest in land. A "fee simple" refers to a sub-category of such interests that features an absence of any temporal condition limiting its durational period under common law, whereas the highest possible form of ownership interest that can be held in real property is a "fee simple absolute," which is a sub-set characterized by an absence of limitations regarding the land's use. Allodial title is reserved to governments under a civil law structure. The rights of the fee-simple owner are limited by government powers of taxation, compulsory purchase, police power, and escheat, and may also be limited further by certain encumbrances or conditions in the deed, such as, for example, a condition that required the land to be used as a public park, with a reversion interest in the grantor if the condition fails; this is a fee simple conditional.

In common law and statutory law, a life estate is the ownership of immovable property for the duration of a person's life. In legal terms, it is an estate in real property that ends at death when ownership of the property may revert to the original owner, or it may pass to another person. The owner of a life estate is called a "life tenant".

A mortgage is a legal instrument which is used to create a security interest in real property held by a lender as a security for a debt, usually a loan of money. A mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is the lender's security for a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed. In other words, the mortgage is a security for the loan that the lender makes to the borrower.

This aims to be a complete list of the articles on real estate.

Torrens title is a land registration and land transfer system, in which a state creates and maintains a register of land holdings, which serves as the conclusive evidence of title of the person recorded on the register as the proprietor (owner), and of all other interests recorded on the register.

A real estate contract is a contract between parties for the purchase and sale, exchange, or other conveyance of real estate. The sale of land is governed by the laws and practices of the jurisdiction in which the land is located. Real estate called leasehold estate is actually a rental of real property such as an apartment, and leases cover such rentals since they typically do not result in recordable deeds. Freehold conveyances of real estate are covered by real estate contracts, including conveying fee simple title, life estates, remainder estates, and freehold easements. Real estate contracts are typically bilateral contracts and should have the legal requirements specified by contract law in general and should also be in writing to be enforceable.

Nemo dat quod non habet, literally meaning "no one gives what they do not have" is a legal rule, sometimes called the nemo dat rule, that states that the purchase of a possession from someone who has no ownership right to it also denies the purchaser any ownership title. It is equivalent to the civil (continental) Nemo plus iuris ad alium transferre potest quam ipse habet rule, which means "one cannot transfer to another more rights than they have". The rule usually stays valid even if the purchaser does not know that the seller has no right to claim ownership of the object of the transaction ; however, in many cases, more than one innocent party is involved, making judgment difficult for courts and leading to numerous exceptions to the general rule that aim to give a degree of protection to bona fide purchasers and original owners. The possession of the good of title will be with the original owner.

In property law, a concurrent estate or co-tenancy is any of various ways in which property is owned by more than one person at a time. If more than one person owns the same property, they are commonly referred to as co-owners. Legal terminology for co-owners of real estate is either co-tenants or joint tenants, with the latter phrase signifying a right of survivorship. Most common law jurisdictions recognize tenancies in common and joint tenancies.

A quitclaim deed is a legal instrument that is used to transfer interest in real property. The entity transferring its interest is called the grantor, and when the quitclaim deed is properly completed and executed, it transfers any interest the grantor has in the property to a recipient, called the grantee. The owner/grantor terminates (“quits”) any right and claim to the property, thereby allowing the right or claim to transfer to the recipient/grantee.

A partition is a term used in the law of real property to describe an act, by a court order or otherwise, to divide up a concurrent estate into separate portions representing the proportionate interests of the owners of property. It is sometimes described as a forced sale. Under the common law, any owner of property who owns an undivided concurrent interest in land can seek such a division. In some cases, the parties agree to a specific division of the land; if they are unable to do so, the court will determine an appropriate division. A sole owner, or several owners, of a piece of land may partition their land by entering a deed poll.

A covenant, in its most general sense and historical sense, is a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action. Under historical English common law a covenant was distinguished from an ordinary contract by the presence of a seal. Because the presence of a seal indicated an unusual solemnity in the promises made in a covenant, the common law would enforce a covenant even in the absence of consideration. In United States contract law, an implied covenant of good faith is presumed.

A restraint on alienation, in the law of real property, is a clause used in the conveyance of real property that seeks to prohibit the recipient from selling or otherwise transferring his interest in the property. Under the common law such restraints are void as against the public policy of allowing landowners to freely dispose of their property. Perhaps the ultimate restraint on alienation was the fee tail, a form of ownership which required that property be passed down in the same family from generation to generation, which has also been widely abolished.

An action to quiet title is a lawsuit brought in a court having jurisdiction over property disputes, in order to establish a party's title to real property, or personal property having a title, of against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiet" any challenges or claims to the title.

Warranty deed

A warranty deed is a type of deed where the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to the grantee (buyer),in contrast to a quitclaim deed, where the seller does not guarantee that he or she holds title to a piece of real estate. A general warranty deed protects the grantee against title defects arising at any point in time, extending back to the property's origins. A special warranty deed protects the grantee only against title defects arising from the actions or omissions of the grantor.

A grant deed is used in some states and jurisdictions for the sale or other transfer of real property from one person or entity to another person or entity. Each party transferring an interest in the property, or "grantor", is required to sign it. The signatures must be acknowledged before a notary public (notarized) or other official authorized by law to administer oaths.

A bargain and sale deed is in United States real property law, a deed "conveying real property without covenants".

The vast majority of states in the United States employ a system of recording legal instruments that affect the title of real estate as the exclusive means for publicly documenting land titles and interests. This system differs significantly from land registration systems, such as the Torrens system that have been adopted in a few states. The principal difference is that the recording system does not determine who owns the title or interest involved, which is ultimately determined through litigation in the courts. The system provides a framework for determining who the law will protect in relation to those titles and interests when a dispute arises.

The Rule in Shelley's Case is a rule of law that may apply to certain future interests in real property and trusts created in common law jurisdictions. It was applied as early as 1366 in The Provost of Beverly's Case but in its present form is derived from Shelley's Case (1581), in which counsel stated the rule as follows:

…when the ancestor by any gift or conveyance takes an estate of freehold, and in the same gift or conveyance an estate is limited either mediately or immediately to his heirs in fee simple or in fee tail; that always in such cases, 'the heirs' are words of limitation of the estate, not words of purchase.

Real property Legal term; property consisting of land and the buildings on it

In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures integrated with or affixed to the land, including crops, buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, and roads, among other things. The term is historic, arising from the now-discontinued form of action, which distinguished between real property disputes and personal property disputes. Personal property was, and continues to be, all property that is not real property.

Disposition (Scots law)

A disposition in Scots law is a formal deed transferring ownership of corporeal heritable property. It acts as the conveyancing stage as the second of three stages required in order to voluntarily transfer ownership of land in Scotland. The three stages are:

  1. The Contractual Stage
  2. The Conveyancing Stage
  3. The Registration Stage

References

  1. O'Connor, E. Rory (1987). The Irish Notary. Dublin: Professional Books. p. 83.
  2. "Contract under Seal Law & Legal Definition". USLegal.com. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  3. Griffiths, Andrew (2005). Contracting With Companies . London: Hart Publishing. p.  7.
  4. Rogers, Henry Wade (1 January 1881). "Delivery and Acceptance of Deeds". Yale University. Archived from the original on 18 December 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  5. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Deed"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 921.
  6. Stimpson, Frederic Jesup (1881). "Deed". Glossary of Technical Terms, Phrases, and Maxims of the Common Law. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. p. 108. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24.
  7. 1 2 "Glossary". Law Handbook Online. Archived from the original on 18 September 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  8. Great Britain India Office. The Imperial Gazetteer of India . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908.
  9. Malleson, G. B. (1875). An historical sketch of the native states of India (1984 Delhi reprint ed.). London.
  10. Rapalje, Stewart; Lawrence, Robert L., eds. (1883). "Habendum". A Dictionary of American and English Law. Jersey City, N.J.: F.D. Linn. p. 589. Archived from the original on 2018-01-24.
  11. Haupt, Kathryn J. (2007). Washington Real Estate Fundamentals. Rockwell Publishing. p. 54. ISBN   978-1-887051-41-5.
  12. Poladian v. Johnson,85So. 2d140, 141( Supreme Court of Florida 1955).
  13. "Mahomet". Infoplease.com. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.