To be effective, a deed has to be delivered. Just as the deed must be signed to be effective, it must also be delivered. This is true whether the deed is one of purchase or of gift. The essential elements of delivery are: 1. The grantors relinquishment of control over the deed to the grantee or a third-party; and, 2. With contemporaneous intent that the deed is to take effect as a conveyance. (The grantor is the person who sells or gives the property away and the grantee is the person who buys or receives the property.) The test is whether or not the grantor parted with all dominion and control over the instrument at the time he delivered it with the intent at the very time of delivery that it take effect as a conveyance. No particular form of words or action is required to constitute delivery, and delivery is often said to turn on the grantor’s intent as determined by examining all of the facts and circumstances preceding, attending, and following the execution of the instrument.

A very old case in Texas illustrates the question of delivery. In 1927, a man executed deeds to his two daughters. He kept the deeds in his bank box and continue to exercise dominion and control over the land. In 1931, he retrieved the deeds from his bank box and went to see one of his daughters with the “… avowed purpose of delivering the deeds to her to be recorded.” After the man arrived at his daughter’s house, he  retired for the night. The next morning he was found dead. His daughter found the deeds in his suitcase and recorded them. The administrix of the man’s estate filed suit against the two daughters seeking to set the deeds aside. The administratrix claimed that there was no delivery of the deeds. The court ruled that the deeds were void because there had not been a delivery. The court held that the man had an intention to deliver the deeds but had never actually delivered them. Therefore, they were never effective to transfer the land to his daughters.

Pearls of wisdom. A deed not only has to be executed but it has to be delivered in order to be effective. A person wishing to convey property needs to execute the deed and get it filed of record or give it to the grantee in order to effectively transfer the property. If a person executes a deed and then puts it in a drawer with the intention to give it to the grantee later and he never gets around to delivering the deed before he dies, the person who he wants to have the property may not receive it.

Every person’s situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.

Copyright by Robert Ray a Texas inheritance attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. If you are concerned about inheritance laws, inheritance rights, have a family inheritance dispute, a property dispute or want information about contesting a will and need an inheritance lawyer, we can help. Please go to our main site and use the contact form to contact us today. We are Texas inheritance lawyers and would love to learn about your case and there is no fee for the initial consultation.