Deeds of Title

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What Are Deeds of Title?

A deed of title, or “title deed”, is a legal instrument that is used to convey title to real estate from one person to another. The transfer may occur in many different ways, such as a traditional real estate sale, or through a gift. In any case, whenever property is transferred, it is essential that a deed of title be referenced as well as recorded with the county recorder’s office.

Recording the deed of title helps to provide a record of the property transfer, and can prevent legal disputes in the future. In most cases, the deed of title is classified as a “general warranty” deed, which guarantees that the holder of the deed is the legal owner of the property.  

What Is the Difference Between the Terms “Deed” and “Title”?

While the terms “deed” and “title” are often used interchangeably, there is in fact significant difference between the two. A “deed” is the actual legal instrument or writing that conveys ownership of property from one person to another. In contrast, “title” describes the person’s legal relationship to the land (i.e., their ownership).

Thus, a person is said to “have title to” the land or property in question, but are said to pass title to another person through the deed instrument. 

Also, the word deed generally refers to land or real property, while the term title can often be applied to more valuable personal property, as in “title to” a car or boat.

What If There Is a Legal Dispute Over the Deed of Title?

A common dispute over a deed is where it is unclear as to who the previous owner was. This can often create disturbances or legal challenges resulting in a lawsuit. For instance, suppose that a person sold a home to another person and passed the deed onto them. Then, suppose that another party is claiming that the seller never actually owned the house and that the house actually belongs to them through inheritance. 

In such cases, it may be necessary to perform a search of the title deed records, so that the parties can view the “chain of title”, which is the history of ownership of the property in question. This can help clarify who is actually entitled to own the property. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Deeds of Title?

Deeds of title can often present some very complex legal issues. You may wish to contact a lawyer if you need help with the deed and title laws in your area. Your attorney can help represent you during real estate transactions, to ensure that your rights are fully protected.  Also, in the event that you need to perform a title search, or if you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney can assist with those matters as well.

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Last Modified: 11-13-2013 11:07 AM PST

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