Deed Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Deed, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Deed?

1\) n. The document that transfers ownership / title, or transfers and interest in real property to another person. The deed is required to identify the grantor (the person transferring the property) and the grantee (the party receiving the property, describe the property, and be signed by the grantor before a notary public to acknowledge that he/she/it executed the deed. The deed must be recorded in the office of the County Recorder or Recorder of Deeds in order to complete the transfer. Two types of deeds include: a quitclaim deed that only transfers the interest in the real property which the grantor actually has, and a warranty deed that guarantees that the grantor owns title. Quitclaims are used to clear title or when there is little question about existing ownership amongst family members or from one joint owner to the other. Deeds of trust are forms of mortgage. 2) v. To transfer title by written deed.

History and Meaning of Deed

The concept of a deed is rooted in common law and can be traced back to medieval England. A deed was used as a legal document to transfer ownership of land. To be valid, a deed had to be in writing, signed and sealed by the person transferring the land, and delivered to the person receiving the land. Over time, the use of deeds has expanded to include the transfer of other types of property, such as buildings, water rights or intellectual property.

In modern times, a deed is a legal instrument that is used to transfer ownership or title of real property from one person to another. In essence, it is a written contract that identifies the grantor and the grantee, describes the property being transferred and states the terms and conditions of the transfer.

Examples of Deed

  1. John signed a deed transferring ownership of his house to Jane.
  2. The city council voted to issue a quitclaim deed relinquishing all interest in the abandoned property.
  3. Company XYZ used a deed to transfer intellectual property rights to Company ABC as part of a merger agreement.

Legal Terms Similar to Deed

  • Title: The legal ownership of property, usually involving a written document that proves ownership.
  • Mortgage: A legal agreement in which a lender agrees to loan money to a borrower to purchase real estate, with the property serving as collateral for the loan.
  • Quitclaim Deed: A type of deed that transfers whatever interest the grantor has in the property without making any guarantees about the validity of the title or interest.