Most people assume that when a real estate deed is signed, it is effective. However, there is one more essential part of the process. Even if a deed is properly executed, it is not effective until it has been delivered to and accepted by the buyer. This can sometimes create bizarre results. Here is an example.
An elderly man properly signed, sealed and acknowledged a deed to his nephew and placed it in an old tin box in his room, where it was discovered shortly after he died. The nephew lost a contest with other heirs over the property because the deed was not delivered, and therefore, was not effective at the time of the old man's death.
Until the deed is delivered, the title remains with the seller, who could change his mind at any time and destroy the deed. But once the deed has been properly delivered and accepted, the title passes and cannot be revoked. Thus the old, old saying: signed, sealed (and notarized) -- and delivered.
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