Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Within a legal blog an answer was given: **A: the deed remains valid up until such time as another susbsequent deed is executed and recorded." Is this true in CA? Is a quitclaim's transfer of property interest valid and complete when it is signed and notarized or when the final step of recording the deed is done.

Asked on 11/02/13, 12:07 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

First off, a quitclaim deed never transfers an interest. Only a grant deed transfers an interest. Second, every deed is valid but no deed is effective, once it is validly signed and notarized. As for when it becomes effective, that depends on the answer to the question "effective as to whom?" It is effective as between the grantor and grantee once it is delivered from grantor to grantee or for grantee's benefit. It is also effective as of that moment as to anyone with actual notice of the transfer. It is not effective as to anyone without notice until it is recorded. Once recorded every person on Earth is legally considered to have notice of the deed and it is effective as to everyone.

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Answered on 11/02/13, 12:36 am

Joel Selik

The deed has to be delivered to be valid. The facts determine what is proper delivery.

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Answered on 11/02/13, 7:47 am
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

A deed must be delivered to be valid. It does not have to be notarized to be valid, but must be notarized to be recorded. It does not have to be recorded to be valid, but recordation puts the world on notice of the transfer and creates a presumption of delivery. As you can see from Mr. Selik's use of the word "delivery" this is a legal term of art that has a specific meaning.

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Answered on 11/02/13, 8:32 am
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Did all of this make sense, and answer your question?

First, the statement you quoted from a legal blog is technically inaccurate, although not totally wrong, and you're better off ignoring it.

Next, a deed transfers the interest set forth therein, if the maker of the deed actually holds that interest, when it is signed and delivered to the other party. Neither notarization nor recording is necessary between the maker and the other party. (I hesitate to use the terms "grantor" and "grantee" because when the deed is a quitclaim, there is, technically, no grantor and no grantee).

The value of recordation is that it gives legally-effective "notice to the world" of the existence and contents of the deed, even to people who in reality don't know of it. However, an unrecorded deed is fully effective as to the parties thereto, and others with actual or constructive notice thereof.

For a discussion of what may be "constructive notice" of a deed, you'd have to consult a real estate lawyer -- but in general, you have constructive notice whenever a person of normal intelligence and powers of observation would suspect that there had been a change of ownership.

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Answered on 11/04/13, 8:49 pm

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