Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Per California law, can a grant deed be revoked by the grantor? It has already been recorded with the county and shows the grantor as the life estate and the grantee as the remainderment? Also, would a change in title be required and/or a living trust?

Asked on 9/10/10, 10:23 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

It can be revoked by a court proceeding only, and only on specific grounds, such as fraud, forgery, undue influence, etc. Revoking the deed would BE a change in title. A living trust has nothing directly to do with it.

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Answered on 9/15/10, 10:32 am
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

A deed in proper form, once delivered to and accepted by the grantee, has done its work, and cannot be revoked, modified, cancelled or otherwise undone by either the grantor or the grantee, or both of them. If, for example, a grantor and grantee both decide they have made a mistake and tear up the deed, they have not un-done the transfer of title that occurred when the deed was delivered. It's sort of like getting pregnant.

The proper way to un-do a deed is to reconvery the property with another deed.

Recording a deed does not finalize the work of the deed in transferring title. Title transfers upon delivery and acceptance. The function of recording is to give notice of the deed to the world. An unrecorded deed is effective as between the grantor and grantee and anyone with actual or constructive notice of the title transfer.

As Mr. McCormick says, a court with jurisdiction over the parties has the power to void or modify (correct) a deed for fraud, forgery, menace, undue influence, certain kinds of mistake, and the like, in the interest of justice.

Technically, some forged or fraudulent deeds are void without court action, rather than being voidable by the court upon request of a party, but even if the deed is void without court action you'd still need to go to court to have it declared void from the outset.

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Answered on 9/16/10, 9:02 am

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