Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

quite claim deed

A & B are joint tennants, a deeds his interest to C but C did not know that A did this, so A dies and C found out that A deed him the interest can C get A's interest?

Asked on 6/11/09, 4:37 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: quite claim deed

Is this a law school homework question? I think the right answer would start with the student discussing the requirements of a valid deed, followed by covering the effect of recordation of the deed, or not.

In order for a deed to be valid to transfer property, it must be executed and delivered within the grantor's lifetime. If A (or anyone) recorded the deed during A's lifetime, the following quotation from Miller & Starr's treatise on Californa real property law would apply: "Recordation of a deed in the public records is prima facie evidence of the existence and content of the original recorded document and its execution and delivery by each person who executed it. This presumption affects the burden of proof."

If the deed were recorded during A's lifetime, B and C are probably tenants in common. However, the presumption of delivery that arises from recording is rebuttable by facts and circumstances showing that the deed was not in fact delivered. "Even though a deed has been recorded, facts and circumstances may show that in fact it has not been delivered to the grantee. A delay in recording a deed until after the grantor's death is a fact indicating that it has not been delivered." Miller & Starr.

Also, "The grantee's physical possession of the instrument raises the inference that it has been delivered. If the grantor retains possession of the instrument, it is presumed that it has not been delivered. Delivery in spite of contrary factors: Because no one factor is determinative, delivery has been found even though there may have been circumstances that would indicate to the contrary. For example, the courts have often concluded that the grantor has delivered the deed even though the grantor remained in possession and exercised acts of ownership over the property." Id.

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Answered on 6/11/09, 8:09 pm

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