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Acknowledgment

Formal declaration by someone like a notary that the signature is both voluntary (no force) and genuine (no forgery)

Adverse possession

The actual, open , notorious, hostile, and continuous possession of another's land under a claim of title. Possession for a statutory period may be a means of acquiring title

Deed

Written document that, when executed and delivered, conveys title to or an interest in real estate

General Warranty Deed

A deed in which the grantor fully warrants good clear title to the premises. Used in most real estate deed transfers, a general warranty deed offers the greatest protection of any deed

Bargain and Sale Deed

A deed that carries with it no warranties against liens or other encumbrances but that does imply that the grantor has the right to convey title. The grantor may add warranties to the deed at his or her discretion

Deed in Trust

An instrument that grants a trustee under a land trust full power to sell, mortgage, and subdivide a parcel of real estate. The beneficiary controls the trustee's use of these powers under the provisions of the trust agreement

Devise

A gift of real property by will. The donor is the devisor and the recipient is the devisee

Grantee

The person who receives a conveyance of real property from a grantor

Granting Clause

Words in deed on conveyance that state the grantor's intention to convey the property at the present time. This clause is generally worded as "convey and warrant"; "grant"; "grant, bargain, and sell"; or the like

Grantor

The person transferring title to or an interest in real property to a grantee

Heir

One who might inherit or succeed to an interest in land under the state law of descent when the owner dies without leaving a valid will

Reconveyance Deed

A deed used by a trustee under a deed of trust to return title to the trustor

Special Warranty Deed

A deed in which the grantor warrants, or guarantees, the title only against defects arising during the period of his or her tenure and ownership of the property and not against defects existing before that time, generally using the language, "by, through, or under the grantor but not otherwise."

Testate

Having made and left a valid will.

Testator

A person who has made a valid will. A woman often is referred to as a testatrix, although testator can be used for either gender.

Title

(1) The right to ownership or the ownership of land. (2) The evidence of ownership of land.

Vested Interest

A present right, interest or title to property that gives the holder the right to convey it to another, even thought the right might not be enjoyed by one or both of the parties.

Voluntary Alienation

Voluntary transfer of title to Real Estate property, either a gift or selling of property

Will

A written document, properly witnessed, providing for the transfer of title to property owned by the decease, called the testator.

Transfer Tax

Tax on the transfer of real property; may require that stamps be attached to deed

Habendum Clause

"To have and to hold" clause in a deed defining the extent of ownership bing granted; i.e., a life estate or a defeasible fee

General Warranty Deed

Deed that offers the most protection in which grantor fully warrants good clear title to the premises

Intestate

Person dies without a valid will; his or her property will pass to heirs as provided in the state law of descent

Probate

A legal process by which a court determines who will inherit a decedent's property and what the estate's assets are

Quit Claim Deed

A conveyance by which the grantor transfers whatever interest he or she has in real estate, without warranties or obligations

Deed

A written instrument that, when delivered, conveys title to or an interest in real estate

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