A property deed is a written and signed legal instrument that is used to transfer ownership of real property from the old owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee). Historically, real property was transferred through a ceremonial act known as “livery of seisin.” In this act, the person transferring the land handed a twig or clod of turf from the land to the person taking delivery of the land. A verbal or written statement often accompanied the gesture, though it was the livery of seisin that legally transferred the title to the property. Today, title to real property is conveyed by a paper deed.
Essential Deed Elements
While each state has its own requirements, most deeds must contain several essential elements to be legally valid:
- It must be in writing. While most deeds are completed on printed forms, there is no legal requirement that any specific form be used as long as the essential elements are included.
- The grantor must have legal capacity to transfer the property and the grantee must be capable of receiving the grant of the property. A person who is competent to make a valid contract is considered competent to be a grantor.
- The grantor and grantee must be identified in such a way as to be ascertainable.
- The property must be adequately described.
- Operative words of conveyance must be present. All standard form deeds include the necessary legal language that actually transfers the property.
- The deed must be signed by the grantor or grantors if the property is owned by more than one person.
- The deed must be legally delivered to the grantee or to someone acting on the grantee’s behalf.
- The deed must be accepted by the grantee. Typically, deeds are accepted by the grantee but in certain circumstances, the grantee could reject delivery of the deed.
What Does a Property Deed Do?
Quit claim deeds are used to quickly change ownership on a property title and are commonly used between family members and to transfer property into a trust. Because they do not provide guarantees against title defects, they are usually the quickest and easiest solution for naming new property owners.
General warranty deeds guarantee that the property title is free and clear of any liens and other defects (unless stated in the deed) and that the grantor owns proper title to the property. These guarantees make general warranty deeds ideal for property sales.
When to Use
- You need to create a quit claim deed, general warranty deed, or special warranty deed.
- You want to sell or transfer your property interest with or without title warranties.
- You want to gift or share your property with a friend or family member.
- You need to transfer property to a trust or business.
- You need to update the owners listed on the property title.
- You need to remove a “cloud” on the property title.
Services we offer :
- Bargain and Sale Deed
- Grant Deed
- Special Warranty Deed
- Quitclaim Deed