A Quick Guide To What Makes A Deed Valid In California
Under California law, simply signing a piece of paper and stating that you are giving the property to someone else is insufficient. Remember, deeds are legal documents, so it needs to be well-planned, properly worded, and very specific.
Here's a quick guide to what makes a deed valid and invalid, as often handled by our Laguna Beach Estate Planning Lawyers in California.
What Makes A Deed Valid?
As said, deeds are legal documents that need to be detailed and specific about what the owner wants with their property. So, if the current owner plans to transfer it to someone, either through inheritance, gifting, or sale, it needs to be very clear about them.
The following needs to be on a deed for it to be considered a valid one:
The name of the person giving (Grantor)
The name of the person receiving (Grantee)
It must be stated in the document that the property is being conveyed, granted, or quitclaimed (depending on what the Grantor wants to do with it)
The correct property identification, which usually includes the legal description or the address
The Grantor must be competent at the time the document was written or executed
The Grantee must be able to hold title to the property (no pets or people who have passed away)
The Grantee must accept the transfer of ownership, and the document must be presented
The Deed does not need to be registered to be effective or to demonstrate delivery. It also does not need to be signed in front of a Notary Public. However, if you intend to record it, it must be notarized, as this is a requirement of the County Recorder.
That said, deeds are very important documents. You want them to document and present what you want to do as Grantor. To help you organize and write a good deed, consult with a Laguna Beach Estate Lawyer.
What Makes A Deed Invalid?
If there are important factors that make a deed valid, there are also a few that would automatically invalidate it. Not only will this help you write the best deed, this should also help you recognize the warning signs of a bad one—which is especially helpful for those looking to buy or inherit property.
So, here's how you know if a deed is considered void or invalid:
When the document is forged
When it is signed by a grantor that's considered incapable of making such decisions (i.e., grantors with dementia)
When a deed is signed by a person who is unaware of the contents and legal implications of the documents
When a grantee's name was added without the Grantor's knowledge
When the undersigned is a minor (individuals below 18)
When a grantor or Grantee is not a real person (using fake or fictitious names on a deed)
If any of the above applies to your deed, contact a Laguna Beach Estate Law Attorney immediately. A lawyer knows their way around documents and will be able to help you deal with whatever discrepancies with your deed and estate.
What Makes A Deed Voidable?
As opposed to factors that directly invalidate a deed, some details or execution of the deed can be enough grounds to challenge a deed. This means that the document itself can be considered valid; however, there might be grounds that could put its validity into question.
Here are a few possible scenarios where a deed may be invalidated or challenged:
The deed was written or executed under pressure, by mistake, or through fraud
The deed was written and executed by someone who's incapable of making decisions
The deed was stolen
The deed was changed or modified without the Grantor's knowledge or permission
As you noticed, all of the listed above are actions relevant to the creation and execution of the will and not the wording or phrasing written in the document. A Will can be properly drafted and executed, but there might be other factors that contribute to its invalidities, such as fraud, theft, or pressure.
If any of these apply to you, contact a Laguna Beach Estate Attorney to help you sort things out.
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