- April 11, 2019
- By Peter Mantell
- 0 comments
Executing deed – sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference.
A deed is a funny thing, in a world of electronic communications a deed is a piece of paper and it has specific rules about how it is written and how its signed. Deeds look like contracts, which don’t require this special treatment, but deeds have some specific features absent from contracts.
A contract requires two parties to sign it and has to have some form of payment to bind it. So, I want to buy it you want to sell it and this is the price; if any of these three are missing the contract does not bind. But, a deed can be unilateral, only one party needs to sign it and there is no need for any form of payment. It is because of this power that there are formalities attached to deeds; they have to be written with the correct formalities, they have to signed in the presence of a witness and they have to be delivered. Delivery means put into force, this is done by dating it after it has been signed. A deed can be signed at any time but does not come into force until it is dated which can be many days later.
In the legal world drafting is not usually a problem because the same format is used time after time and some deeds forms are specified by for instance HM Land Registry Similarly dating a document is fairly easy to get right.
The major problems come with execution.
The party executing the deed needs to sign in front of an independent adult witness, the witness needs to sign and print their name and address legibly below and the document must not be changed once it is signed. Break any of these rules and the deed fails.
Why does this matter?
The main use of deeds in England and Wales is to buy an sell houses get this wrong and the transaction fails. If in doubt consult Land Registry Practice Guide 8 which is freely available on the internet.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*
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