A deed must specify the the following:
- Name of the grantor(s) – person(s) who is granting the property, and
- Name of the grantee(s) – person(s) to whom the property is granted, and
- Description of the property being granted.
The deed must set forth what is intended to be conveyed in some formal manner. It is not necessary to follow any exact or prescribed language. It is also not essential that technical terms be used. However, the deed must express the intention to convey. The matter must be written in an orderly manner and the words of the deed must specify the property and parties to the transfer.
In order to transfer title, a deed must contain appropriate words of grant which show an intention to make a present conveyance of title rather than an intention to convey it at some future time. The granting clause in a deed determines the interest conveyed.
Some deeds contain both a granting clause and a habendum clause. A granting clause actively transfers the land from the grantor to the grantee. The habendum clause describes the type of title that has been granted and any limitations upon the title. The purpose of the habendum clause of a deed is to curtail, limit, or qualify the estate conveyed in the granting clause. If the granting clause clearly defines the property and there is no limitation upon the title conveyed, there is no need for a habendum clause. In addition to a habendum clause, formal deeds may contain a reddendum clause. A Reddendum clause is used to effect a reservation of an estate in land previously granted, as, for example, the reservation of a life estate.
A deed is void if it does not contain words importing a grant. The use of words of inheritance such as “to the grantee and his heirs and assigns forever” strengthen the reading of a deed. The customary operative words of quitclaim deeds such as “remise, release, and quitclaim,” show the intention of the grantor to convey his or her present title. However, it is not necessary that all these words must be used in a quitclaim deed. Moreover, the word “quitclaim” does not conclusively establish that the deed is a quitclaim deed.
A deed must contain the date of the deed, containing the day, month, and year of its execution. However, a deed is operative even if the deed or acknowledgement is undated or dated incorrectly. The deed operates from the time of delivery.