The Person Transferring Title

The person transferring title to, or an interest in, real property. A grantor must be competent to convey; thus, a mentally retarded person cannot convey title to real property. A deed from a minor usually is voidable (not void) and may be disaffirmed before or within a reasonable time after the grantor reaches majority. A corporate grantor must have legal existence, be authorized to hold and convey title to real property, and be represented by a duly authorized officer of the corporation.

The grantor must be clearly identified in the deed. Misspellings do not render the deed inoperative unless the discrepancy is so extensive that the grantor cannot reasonably be identified. The grantor should convey title under the same name in which he or she acquired title. If the grantor has changed names, the conveyance should reflect such change; for example, “Joan Baker, who acquired title under the name Joan L. Jones . . .”

Both grantor and grantee must be living and cannot be the same person. For example, a husband cannot convey his interest in a joint tenancy to himself as a tenant in common. A conveyance to “Joe Smith and Fred Johnson, their heirs and assigns” would be valid, however, even if Smith and Johnson were dead at the time of the conveyance.

When title is vested in two or more persons, each must convey his or her separate interest. Usually all co-owners will join in one deed, although separate deeds are perfectly valid to transfer the complete title to the grantee. Even though one spouse may not be a co-owner of the property, he or she should join in the deed conveying the other spouse’s property in order to release dower, curtesy, and/or homestead rights (if applicable). Therefore, the marital status of the grantor should be inserted in the deed. In fact, the recorder may not accept a deed for recordation unless it contains the marital status and address of the grantor.

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