Understanding Conveyance Deeds

Real Estate |

What is a deed, exactly?

A deed is a written instrument that transfers the title of property from one person to another.

Parties to a deed

For a deed to be valid, it must identify the parties. There will always be at least two parties to a deed: the person transferring the property and the person receiving the property.

  • Current Owner (“Grantor”) – The current owner of the real estate is called a grantor. The grantor is the person or organization that is transferring the real estate. The grantor must sign the deed.
  • New Owner (“Grantee”) – The person who will own the property after the transfer is called a grantee. The grantee is the person or organization that receives the real estate. In a sale of real estate, the buyer is the grantee.

Keeping the parties straight

  • More than one owner = More than one Grantor.
    • For example, if a husband and wife own real estate together, both of them can sign the same deed to transfer real estate to someone else. In this situation, both the husband and wife are considered grantors.
  • Similarly, there may be more than one grantee.
    • A mother may convey property to her three children, thereby making each child a grantee.
  • The grantor can be one of the grantees.
    • For example, if a father wanted to transfer real estate to himself and his children, the father would be both a grantor (since he is the current owner) and a grantee (since he will still have ownership after the transfer, although in a different form).
  • Grantors and grantees need not be people.
    • Businesses, trusts, estates, nonprofit organizations, churches, or other organizations can serve as grantor or grantee.

Other elements of a Deed

  • Grantor’s Name and Signature – The grantor is required to sign the deed in front of a notary and have the signature notarized. Georgia also requires the grantor’s signature to be witnessed by a non-party to the deed.
  • Grantee’s Name – The deed must identify who or what organization will receive the real estate.
    • The correct legal name should be used.
    • If the deed will be to a business, the deed should identify the type of business and state of formation (for example, “Peachtree LLC, a Georgia limited liability company”).
    • Similarly, if the grantee is a trust, the deed should state the legal name of each trustee, the name of the trust, and the date that the trust was created.
  • Manner in which Multiple Grantees Will Hold Title – If there is more than one grantee and all grantees are individuals, the deed should specify how the grantees will hold title (form of co-ownership).
    • Examples include joint tenants with right of survivorship, tenants in common, tenants by the entirety, etc.
  • Consideration
    • “Consideration” is a legal term used to describe the value that changes hands as part of an agreement between two or more parties.
    • Consideration could be anything of value, and the recitation of consideration in the deed may not correspond to the actual consideration paid for the property.
    • Most deeds recite nominal consideration (e.g., “the sum of $10.00”). This keeps the actual consideration (the amount paid for the property) private and is common practice in most states, Georgia included.
  • Legal Description of Real Estate
    • A legal description is a description of real estate that is sufficient to identify it for legal purposes. When preparing a deed, it is important to use the correct legal description. In most situations, the best practice is to use the legal description from the most recent deed to the property.
    • Note: A street address is not a legal description as street addresses often change. They were never intended to provide a reliable description for purposes of deed preparation.
  • Language of Conveyance
    • The deed must make it clear that it is intended to convey the real estate.
    • “… does hereby remise, convey and forever QUITCLAIM unto the said Grantee”
    • “… does grant, bargain, sell, alien, convey and confirm unto the said Grantee…”

Written by Dal Burton, Jr., Attorney at the Intown office of McManamy McLeod Heller

*For informational purposes only.  Not to be relied upon as legal advice.  Nothing in this blog should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship.  MMH is not responsible for, does not endorse or accept liability for any externally linked site or its content.  MMH does not give any representation regarding the safety, reliability or accuracy of the content or materials contained on any external website.