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

Adverse Possession

Possession of another's land as if the owner for a statutory period which may lead to acquiring title


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

General Warranty Deed

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

Grantor, Grantee

In a deed, the grantor is the person transferring title in real estate to the grantee

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


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


Legal process by which a court determines who will inherit a deceased person's property and what the assets of the estate are

Quiet Enjoyment Covenant

Clause in deed guaranteeing that the grantee's title will be good against third parties who might bring court action

Quitclaim Deed

Offers the least protection of any deed; conveys a real estate interest, if any; often used to correct misspelled names, etc.

Transfer Tax

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


Written document, properly witnessed, providing for transfer of title to property owned by the deceased, called the testator

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