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In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-us ...
, a deed is any
legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environ ...
in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an
interest In and , interest is payment from a or deposit-taking financial institution to a or depositor of an amount above repayment of the (that is, the amount borrowed), at a particular rate. It is distinct from a which the borrower may pay the len ...

interest
,
right Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is describe ...

right
, or
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to , alter, , , , , , , , or ...
and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some
jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' 'declaration') is the legal term for the authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. Colloquially it is used to refer to the geographical area (: locatio ...
, sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring (
conveyancing In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. I ...
) title to property. The deed has a greater
presumption In the law of evidence, a presumption of a particular fact can be made without the aid of proof in some situations. The invocation of a presumption shifts the Legal burden of proof, burden of proof from one party to the opposing party in a court tri ...
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
commissions
,
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...

license
s,
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s,
diploma A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as college or university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study. The word diploma also refers to an academic award w ...

diploma
s, and conditionally
powers of attorney
powers of attorney
if executed as deeds. The deed is the modern descendant of the medieval
charter A charter is the grant of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social scien ...
, and delivery is thought to symbolically replace the ancient ceremony of
livery of seisin Livery of seisin () is an archaic legal conveyancing In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal Title (property), title to (of) real property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage law, mortgage or a ...
. 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
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; ...

contract
s by deed or ''specialty''; in the United States, a specialty is enforceable without
consideration Consideration is a concept of English law, English common law and is a necessity for simple contracts but not for special contracts (contracts by deed). The concept has been adopted by other common law jurisdictions. The court in ''Currie v Mis ...
. In some jurisdictions, specialties have a
liability Liability may refer to: Law * Legal liability, in both civil and criminal law ** Public liability, part of the law of tort which focuses on civil wrongs ** Product liability, the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retai ...
limitation period of double that of a simple contract and allow for a
third party beneficiary A third-party beneficiary, in the law of contracts, is a person who may have the right to sue on a contract, despite not having originally been an active party (law), party to the contract. This right, known as a ''ius quaesitum tertio'', arises wh ...
to enforce an undertaking in the deed, thereby overcoming the doctrine of
privity Privity is the legal term for a close, mutual, or successive relationship to the same right of property or the power to enforce a promise or warranty. It is an important concept in Privity of contract, contract law. Contract law {{main article, Pri ...
. Specialties, as a form of contract, are
bilateral Bilateral may refer to any concept including two sides, in particular: *Bilateria, bilateral animals *Bilateralism, the political and cultural relations between two states *Bilateral, occurring on both sides of an organism (Anatomical terms of loc ...
and can therefore be distinguished from covenants, which, being also under seal, are unilateral promises.


Requirements

At
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-us ...
, to be valid and enforceable, a deed must meet several requirements: * It must state on its face that it is a deed, using wording like "This Deed..." or "executed as a deed". * It must indicate that the instrument itself conveys some privilege or thing to someone. * The
grantor A grant, in law, is a transfer of property, generally from a person or other entity giving the property (the grantor) to a person or entity receiving the property (the grantee). Historically, a grant was a transfer by Deed (law), deed of that whic ...
must have the legal ability to grant the thing or privilege, and the
grantee A grant, in law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
must have the legal capacity to receive it. * It must be executed by the grantor in presence of the prescribed number of witnesses, known as instrumentary witnesses (this is known as being in solemn form). * In some jurisdictions, a
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquati ...
must be affixed to it. Originally, affixing seals made persons parties to the deed and signatures optional, but seals are now outdated in most jurisdictions, so the signatures of the grantor and witnesses are primary. * It must be delivered to (delivery) and, in some jurisdictions, accepted by the grantee (acceptance). Conditions attached to the acceptance of a deed are known as covenants. A deed indented or indenture 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. A
deed poll#REDIRECT Deed poll A deed poll (plural: deeds poll or deed polls) is a legal document binding only to a single person or several persons acting jointly to express an active intention. It is, strictly speaking, not a contract A contract is a leg ...
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

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 In contract law, a warranty is a promise which is not a condition of the contract or an innominate term: (1) it is a term "not going to the root of the contract", and (2) which only entitles the innocent party to damages if it is breached: i.e. the ...
. 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 A warranty deed is a type of deed In common law, a deed (anciently "an evidence") is any legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal term of art that is used for any formally executed written document that can be formally attributed to ...
''. 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 A government auction or a public auction is an auction held on behalf of a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associati ...
, or an
executor An executor is someone who is responsible for executing, or following through on, an assigned task or duty. The feminine form, executrix, may sometimes be used. Overview An executor is a legal term referring to a person named by the maker of a w ...
.


Quitclaim deed

A so-called ''
quitclaim deed 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 ...
'' is (in most jurisdictions) actually not a deed at all—it is actually an
estoppel Estoppel is a judicial device in common law legal systems whereby a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and ...
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 mortgage loan or simply mortgage () is a loan In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient (i.e., the borrower) incurs a ...
. 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 An escrow is a contractual arrangement in which a third party (the stakeholder or escrow agent) receives and disburses money or property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the ...

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

* Deed of arrangement – document setting out an arrangement for a debtor to pay part or all outstanding debts, as an alternative to bankruptcy; (Australian law). * Deed of assignment – document in which a debtor appoints a trustee to take charge of property to pay debts, partly or wholly, as an alternative to bankruptcy; (Australian law).


Sanad

''Sanad'', also spelt as ''sunnud'', was a deed granted to the rulers of native
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with the East India Company and af ...
s in British India confirming them in their ruling position in return for their allegiance to the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
.


Sanad of adoption

Since the extinction of the royal bloodline would be a ground for
annexation Annexation (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...
of a principality by the British, 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 The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown. The rebellion ...

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. Among the rulers that were given sanads of adoption, , , as well as the rulers of
Nagod State Nagod State (also known as 'Nagode' and 'Nagodh') was a princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state under a local or indigenous or reg ...
,
Samthar State Samthar State was a princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a supe ...
and the Chaube Jagirs are worth mentioning.


Structure

The main clauses of a deed of conveyance are: * Premises ** Parties clause – sets out the names, addresses, and descriptions (vendor/purchaser, grantor/grantee, transferor/transferee) of parties ** Recitals – narrates in chronological order the previous ownership of the property being conveyed, starting with the earliest deed of title down to the contract of sale the conveyance gives effect to ** Testatum – a command to witness which acknowledges the payment and receipt of the consideration and signals the beginning of the operative part; usually begins with "Now this Deed witnesseth" * Operative part ** Operative clause – vendor gives effect to the contract of sale by conveying his interest in land to the purchaser ** Parcels clause – clause detailing the location and description of the property being conveyed ** Habendum – clause indicating the estate (freehold, etc.) or interest to be taken by the grantee ** Tenendum – "to have and to hold", formerly referring to the tenure by which the estate granted was to be held, though now completely symbolic ** Reddendum – reserves something to grantor out of thing granted, such as rent, under the formula "yielding and paying". ** Conditions ** Warranty – grantor warrants the title to the grantee *** general: when the warrant is against all persons *** special: when it is only against the grantor, his heirs and those claiming under him ** Covenants – binding limitations or promises * Conclusion (or
eschatocol An eschatocol, or closing protocol, is the final section of a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surro ...
) – execution and date ** Testimonium (Scotland: ''testing clause'') – attests to the due execution of a deed or instrument. *** Examples: **** England & Wales: ''In Witness Whereof, the parties to these presents have hereunto set their hands and seals''. **** Ireland: ''In Witness Whereof the parties hereto have hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals he day and year first herein written'. **** Scotland: ''IN WITNESS WHEREOF these presents, consisting of this and the preceding pages, are subscribed by at
lace Lace is a delicate fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural or man-m ...

lace
on the day of onthTwo thousand and
ear The ear is the organ of hearing and, in mammals, balance. In mammals, the ear is usually described as having three parts—the outer ear The outer ear, external ear, or auris externa is the external part of the ear, which consists ...

ear
in the presence of
ame American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English is the mo ...

ame
of ddress'.


Recording

Usually the transfer of ownership of real estate is registered at a
cadastre A cadastral map (shortened to cadastre or cadaster) is a comprehensive land recording of the real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; imm ...

cadastre
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

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 In property law Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land) and personal property. Property refers to legally protected claims to resources, such as land and personal property, includi ...
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 In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary' ...
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 The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, a
pardon A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction. A pardon may be granted before or after conviction for the crime, depending on the laws of the j ...

pardon
of the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

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 Henry Ossian Flipper (March 21, 1856 – April 26, 1940) was an United States military history, American soldier, engineer, former slavery, slave and in 1877, the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at ...

Henry Ossian Flipper
, this view was altered when President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

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 Torrens title is a land registration Land registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the A ...

Torrens title
system is an alternative way of proving ownership. First introduced in
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
in 1858 by Sir
Robert TorrensRobert Torrens may refer to: * Robert Torrens (judge) Robert Torrens (1775 – 1856) was an Irish judge. He enjoyed, on the whole, a high reputation for impartiality and decency. While his critics called him "the notorious hanging Judge Torren ...

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.
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." Mahomet is an archaic spelling of
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

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.


See also

*
Covenant (law) 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 ...
*
Deed poll#REDIRECT Deed poll A deed poll (plural: deeds poll or deed polls) is a legal document binding only to a single person or several persons acting jointly to express an active intention. It is, strictly speaking, not a contract A contract is a leg ...
* Grant deed *
Quitclaim deed 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 ...
*
Warranty deed A warranty deed is a type of deed In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' ...
* Certificate of occupancy (land tenure)


References

{{Authority control Legal documents Real property law