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Deed

Validity

If a deed is to have any validity, it must be made voluntarily. The test of the capacity of an individual to execute a valid deed is based upon that person's ability to comprehend the consequences of his or her act. If a deed is not made through the conscious act of the grantor, it can be set aside in court. Relevant factors for the determination of whether a particular individual is capable of executing a valid deed are his or her age, and mental and physical condition. Extreme physical weakness resulting from old age or disease is a proper element for consideration in establishing capacity. Mental capacity, however, is the most important factor. If an individual is deemed to be mentally capable of disposing of his or her own property, the deed is ordinarily valid and would withstand objections made to it.

If FRAUD is committed by either the grantor or grantee, a deed can be declared invalid. For example, a deed that is a forgery is completely ineffective.

The exercise of UNDUE INFLUENCE also ordinarily serves to invalidate a deed. The test of whether such influence has been exerted turns upon the issue of whether the grantor executed the deed voluntarily. Undue influence is wrongful and serves to confuse the judgment and to control the will of the grantor. Ordinary influence is insufficient to invalidate a deed. Deeds between parties who share a confidential relationship are frequently examined by the courts for undue influence. For example, the courts might place a deed under close scrutiny if the grantor's attorney or physician is named grantee. In addition, if the grantor is a drunkard or uses DRUGS AND NARCOTICS to excess, such would be circumstances for consideration when a court determines whether undue influence was exercised upon the grantor.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Cross‐contamination to Deed of covenantDeed - Transfer Of Land, Delivery, Acceptance, Recording, Types Of Deeds, Validity - Execution, Defects