A deed is like a contract, however, unlike a simple contract, there are additional formalities and requirements that are necessary to execute a deed. A deed is a written document that is executed with the necessary formality (that is, more than a simple signature), and by which an interest, right or property passes or is confirmed, or an obligation binding on some person is created or confirmed. Our specialist deed lawyers can advise you of the issues surrounding deed law and help you on all aspects surrounding deeds.
What is a deed?
The law requires certain documents to be in the form of a deed in order to be legally binding, including:
- Transfers of land.
- Certain tenancies or leases.
- Powers of attorney.
- Employment contracts.
- Shareholder and partnership agreements.
There are set rules on how a deed can be executed and delivered in order to be valid, as well as on the signature. A deed has to make it clear that it is a deed and the parties have to sign it as a deed (for example stating “signed as a deed by”). Deeds do not require consideration (some value to be transferred between parties) in order for it to be valid whereas most contracts do require this. It is possible for the deed to only bind one person in a deed poll. Another difference between a deed and an ordinary contract is that there is a 12-year time limit for bringing a claim as opposed to 6 years with contracts.
How to execute and deliver a deed
A deed cannot be signed with an electronic signature. They have to be printed out and the person signing must give a wet signature (this is where they physically mark the document, usually with their name). Depending on how the parties to the deed are legally recognised will affect how the deed is executed. Where a witness is required they must be over the age of 18 and have mental capacity. A party to the deed cannot be a witness for another party. An unrelated person can witness more than one signature to the deed.
Individuals have to sign the deed in front of at least one witness. Companies can either affix their corporate seal, have a director sign in front of a witness or have two directors or one director and one company secretary sign without the need for a witness. Partnerships can either all sign in front of a witness or one partner can sign with the authorised power of attorney to sign on behalf of all the partners in front of a witness. LLPs again can either affix their LLP seal, have one member sign in the presence of a witness or have two members signing and no witness is required. Companies, LLPs and partnerships should ensure they have checked their articles or agreements to ensure there are no requirements detailed there relating to how deeds must be executed.
Certain deeds have specific rules that apply to them. These include deeds relating to land and Wills. It is highly advisable you take expert advice to guide you on the issues surrounding these.
Delivering of the deeds no longer requires the formality of the past where it needed to be physically handed over. Now it occurs where one party does something required by the deed. No separate or special action is generally required. For example, in a house sale, the deed is delivered when the keys to the property are passed over.
Contact our Deed Solicitors, Alderley Edge, Cheshire
Our specialist lawyers can assist you in all aspects surrounding the law and deeds and they can guide you through the process ensuring that all requirements are correctly complied with.
Call now on 01625 460 281 for a no-obligation consultation from one of our expert lawyers. Alternatively, you can complete our online enquiry form.