A deed is a legal instrument commonly used to transfer title in real property (i.e. a residence, parcel of land, or family cottage). Although deeds are typically straightforward, certain legal requirements are necessary to effectuate the transfer. Namely, the deed instrument should describe the premises being transferred, identify the grantor (the person conveying title), the grantee (the intended recipient of the real property interest being conveyed pursuant to the deed), conveyance language (language describing the grantor's intent to convey the real property and the type of conveyance being made), the consideration being exchanged (the money being exchanged) and the warranties and representations as to the quality of title being exchanged.
In addition to the required language in the conveyancing document, the grantor must sign and deliver the document. Merely signing a conveyancing document does not create a conveyance; the document must be delivered. Although not required to effectuate a conveyance or transfer, recording a deed gives rise to a presumption of delivery, which shifts the burden of proof onto the party challenging delivery. Additionally, and depending upon the state where the property is located, recording of a deed may be necessary to satisfy that jurisdiction's "race/notice" statutes and otherwise protect the property against claims of interest asserted by Bona Fide Purchasers. The purpose of the delivery requirement is to show the grantor's intent to convey the property described in the deed.
On occasion, facts and circumstances exist that support a legal action to challenge a conveyance of real property. From a legal perspective, the validity of a deed may be challenged for the following reasons:
Although contesting a deed can be a complicated and difficult process, in some instances, legal action becomes necessary and, in such situations the assistance of an experienced attorney is essential in order to provide you with the guidance, advice and expertise required to properly contest a deed in probate court.