Gift Deed

As we all know, where the word ‘deed’ is involved, we are no doubt dealing with something related to property and real estate. But while this may be the most popular context of this word, a deed is an important bit of documentation where transfer of a certain right is concerned. The right of ownership, or indeed its transfer, requires every bit of documentation which it can get, and hence, deeds are more popularly seen and heard of in this context. Moving on to the issue about property, a deed is usually used to indicate that the seller is giving away his right of ownership over a property to the buyer, for certain consideration. But with a gift deed, you’re going to have to scratch out the last bit.

Explaining a Gift Deed

If you have any inkling of knowledge about the Contract Law in most countries, you will know that contracts without any consideration (cash or kind) are considered null and void, save for a few exceptions. Let us take an example to explain this slightly complex statement. When you want to get a new house, you go to a homeowner who no longer wants his, and quote a price so that the homeowner should relinquish the ownership. So this ‘consideration’ from the point of view of the seller is the cash he gets, while the consideration from your point of view is the ownership of the home. Furthermore, the contract law in most countries doesn’t recognize deals done without consideration for both parties and where there is only one benefactor.

Except in the case known as a ‘gift’. When one person ‘gifts’ his large, plush, and priceless property to another, he receives nothing in return by way of consideration or compensation. The receiver of this property pays nothing. The consideration here is said to be ‘love’, and hence, the contract stands fulfilled.

When you give your immovable asset to another person, which is, you grant your right of ownership over an immovable property to another, for no consideration, or in other words ‘for free’, the gift deed is the piece of documentation which records that. The deed shows that the buyer has received the property for no consideration, as a gift and its ownership for all practical purposes, rests with him.

The Format

A deed is a legal document, which means that it needs to follow a certain format, and can be contested in the court of law. Being a legal document, there are a few things to be kept in mind when drafting it.

The deed is drafted by the person giving the property as a gift, or the donor. It speaks of his willingness to give that specified asset away, in return for no consideration and completely out of love and affection for the person receiving the gift, or the donee. The donor’s signature is often not enough, and signatures of witnesses are essential. While the number of witnesses may vary depending on the rules of the state, normally two witnesses are enough to seal the deal. The witnesses, of course, cannot be people who have material interest in the property themselves, and as such, need to be disinterested parties that stand to gain nothing from the contents of the deed. For example, the donee cannot pose as the witness as he directly acquires the ownership as a result of the deed. Lastly, it also contains the signature of the donee signifying his acceptance.

A gift deed is basically made when deals without consideration for immovable property are made as they serve the basic purpose of establishing the transfer of the right of ownership.

What is a General Warranty Deed?

It is an important consideration for home buying and home selling, as it assures that the person you’re buying the property from is the real owner of the property, and not someone fraudulently posing as the owner. A general warranty deed is a legal document and if it is fraudulent, it can be contested in the court of law.

Definition

A deed where the grantor (or seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has the legal right to sell it to you. The guarantee is not limited only to the time the grantor owned the property but extends back further to the origins of the property.

The meaning can be simplified by stating that the general warranty deed is a guarantee that the seller gives to the buyer, that he indeed owns the property and that the property does not have any lien or liabilities associated with it.

The rationale behind getting this legal document from the seller for the buyer is quite easy to understand. A lot of people can be bluffed by making a quick sale of property which is not yours, or has a substantial amount of liability attached to it. So by claiming the ownership of the property, not only does a fraudulent seller sell the house and make a tidy profit, but also he can also abscond leaving the new homeowner in a soup.

Hence more and more home buyers are careful to ensure that they receive the general warranty deed, so that they are assured that the property they purchase for residence or as investment property is free from any trouble.

Form

The deed usually contains 6 covenants or ‘promises’ which the seller makes to the buyer when selling property. These covenants can be categorized in two basic classes based on what they cover: The present covenants and the future covenants.

Present Covenants
Covenant of Seisin & Covenant of Right to Convey
Seisin means possession. These two covenants mean that the seller is in possession of the land and also has the right to sell to another party.

Covenant Against Encumbrances
With this covenant, the seller assures the buyer that there are no encumbrances or liabilities against the property.

Future Covenants
Covenant of Warranty and Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
These two covenants are said to be future covenants as they are related to occurrences which may take place in the future. With these two covenants, the seller protects the buyer against any future troubles or claims against the property that may arise out of the past dealings of the seller.

Covenant of Further Assurances
This covenant ensures the buyer that if there is something omitted that would otherwise be required to pass on the title, he will do everything to ensure that the title is passed on to the buyer, irrespective of the omission.

If you go through sample deeds, you will see that they need to be notarized and need to be signed in the presence of witness. The deed is a legal document so you would perhaps like to seek the help of a lawyer to draft it.