DEED, a written instrument under seal, containing a contract or agreement which has been delivered by the party to be bound and accepted by the obligee or covenantee. It has also been defined as follows: °A writing cone taming a contract sealed and delivered by the party thereto?) (2 Wash. Real Prop. 553.) The law requires greater form and solemnity in the conveyance of land than in that of chattels. This arises from the greater dignity of the free hold in the eye of the ancient law, and from the lift and transitory nature of personal property, which enters much more deeply into commerce, and requires the utmost facility in its incessant circulation.
In the early period of English history the conveyance of land was ordinarily without writ ing,, but it was accompanied with certain acts, equivalent, in point of formality and certainty, to deeds. As knowledge increased, conveyance by writing became more prevalent and ulti mately by the statute of frauds and perjuries, of 29 Charles II, ch. 3, secs. 1, 2, all estates and interests in lands (except leases not exceeding three years) created, granted, or assigned, by livery of seisin only, or by parol, and not in writing, and signed by the party, were declared to have no greater force or effect than estates at will only. And by the fourth section no person could be charged upon any °contract or sale of lands, or any interest in or concerning the same," unless the agreement, or some memo randum or note thereof, was in writing, and signed by the party to be charged therewith, or some other person by him lawfully author ized.
With some trivial changes this statute pro vision has been adopted or assumed as law throughout the United States. Deeds must be upon paper or parchment, must be completely written before delivery, must be between com petent parties, and certain classes are excluded from holding lands and, consequently, from be ing grantees in a deed; must be made without restraint; must relate to suitable property, and should be signed, sealed and delivered. The consideration of a deed must be good or val uable and not partaking of anything immoral, illegal or fraudulent.
A deed to be effective must be delivered and accepted. A delivery is the transfer of a deed from the grantor or his agent to the grantee, or some other person acting in his behalf, in such a manner as to deprive the grantor of the right to recall it at fiis option. An absolute
delivery is one which is complete upon the actual transfer of the instrument from the pos session of the grantor. A conditional delivery is one which passes the deed from the posses sion of the grantor, but is not to be completed by possession in the grantee, or a third person as his agent, until the happening of a specified event. A deed delivered in this manner is an escrow, and such delivery should be always made to a third person. No particular form of procedure is required to effect a delivery. It may be by acts merely, by words merely, or by both combined, but in all cases an inten tion that it shall be a delivery must exist. It may be made by an agent as well as by the grantee himself. To complete a delivery, an acceptance must take place, which may be presumed from the grantee's possession.
In a deed the premises embrace the statement of the parties, the consideration, recitals in serted for explanation, description of the property granted, with the intended exceptions. The habendum begins at the words "to have and to hold,'" and limits and defines the estate which the grantee is to have. The reddemium, which is used to reserve something new to the grantor; the conditions; the covenants; and the conclusion, which mentions the execution, date, etc., constitute the formal parts of a deed and properly follow in the order observed here.
The construction of deeds is favorable to their validity; the principal includes the in cident; punctuation is not regarded; a false description does not harm; the construction is least favorable to the party making the con veyance or reservation; the habendum is re if repugnant to the rest of the deed. he lex rei site governs in the conveyance of lands, both as to the requisites and the forms of conveyances.
Chancellor Kent, after observing that in the United States generally the form of convey ance is very simple, says: II apprehend that a deed would be perfectly competent, in any part of the United States, to convey the fee if it was to the following effect: A. B., in consideration of one dollar to me paid by C. D. do grant, bargain and sell to C. D. and his heirs, the lot of land (describe it), witness my hand and seal, etc." See COVENANT; Es CROW.