What is required for a Deed – Grant Deed or Quitclaim Deed – to be valid? Just arbitrarily signing a piece of paper and saying that you give the property to another person is just not sufficient under California Law. Here is a list of what needs to be addressed:

  • Must contain the name of the person giving (Grantor) and the person receiving (Grantee).
  • Must state in the document that you are conveying/granting/quitclaiming the property.
  • Must have the correct property identification – usually the legal description or at least the property address.
  • The Grantor must be capable and competent to properly execute the document.
  • The Grantee must be capable to hold title (no pets or people who have passed away).
  • The document must be delivered and the Grantee must accept the transfer of the ownership.

Contrary to normal expectations, the Deed DOES NOT have to be recorded to be effective or to show delivery, and because of that, the Deed DOES NOT have to be signed in front of a Notary Public. However, if you plan to record it, then it does have to be notarized as that is a County Recorder requirement.

There are also Deeds that are flat out VOID – no good, period, and those that are VOIDABLE – ownership can pass subject to certain proceedings to determine its effect.

What can be construed as a VOID deed?

  • A forged deed
  • A deed signed by a person determined to be mentally incapacitated
  • A deed signed by someone who totally does not understand what they are signing
  • A deed in which the Grantee was typed in without the Grantor’s authorization
  • A deed signed by a minor (under 18 years old)
  • A deed to a fictitious person

What can be construed as a VOIDABLE deed?

  • A deed given through fraud, by mistake, or under duress,
  • A deed given by a person who may be mentally incapacitated
  • A deed that was not supposed to be delivered (stolen)
  • A deed that was changed without the Grantor’s knowledge or consent

For any further questions on Deeds or for questions on a particular scenario, please ask your Escrow Officer and obtain your own independent legal and financial counsel.