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The following are the general Forms of Attestation.
Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said of a will. testator, as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who in his presence, at his request, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.
Signed, sealed, and delivered," by the within-nam- of a deed. ed A. B. in the presence of
[If the party be deaf and dumb, say,] who being If party dumb. deaf and dumb, but capable of reading ; the same was first read over by him, and he seemed perfectly to understand the contents thereof.
[If an illiterate person, say,] the same being first Illiterate. read over and explained to him.
[If by a person blind, say,] he being blind, the Or blind. same indenture having been first carefully and audibly read over to him.
Signed, sealed, and delivered,° by the within-nam- of a deed ereed A. B. by A. D., his attorney duly appointed by cuted by
attorney the letter of attorney, under the hand and seal of the said A. B., and hereunto annexed.
Signed, sealed, and delivered, by the within-nam- In case of ed A. B., (the words [here copy the words] having been previously interlined in the fourth and fifth lines of the first skin, (or written over obliterations,)
* For what constitutes a good delivery in general, see Shep. Touch, 57. Cru. Dig. 28.
The mode of delivery is to take the deed and say, “I deliver this as the act and deed of the within-named C. D.”
As to the effect of deeds retained in the possession of the grantor after the execution, and what is a sufficient delivery, see Doe d. Garnous v. Knight, 4 Law Journal, 162.
If the letter of attorney concern other property, a true copy of the same should be annexed.
Attestation of a deed where there happens to be erasures, or interline. ations.
between [mentioning the lines and skin,] or obliterated, (mentioning the lines and skin ;] or the word Henry having been previously interlined between the words, &c., and the name J. H. written on an erasure or erasures in the fifth line of the second skin thereof,) in the presence of
ABSTRACTS OF TITLE.
The preparation of abstracts of title is too often thought a matter of very little importance, requiring little if any consideration ; but unless this duty, as well as that of examining the abstract, is properly performed, all the subsequent expense attendant upon the consideration and investigation of the title may turn out to be of little service in protecting a purchaser from the consequences of an improvident investment.
If abstracts were prepared by persons thoroughly acquainted with the general principles of real property law, much greater conciseness might be used than is now generally adopted; but I would not advise any one without such knowledge to depart from the ordinary mode.
The conditions of sale cannot be properly prepared without a thorough knowledge of the state of the title. It would, therefore, be very desirable that the preparation of the abstract should not be postponed, as is ordinarily the case, till after a sale, but should precede the preparation of the conditions, and in cases where the property is not too small to admit of that expense, it would in general be found the truest economy, on the part of the vendor, to have the title perused on his behalf previous to offering any property for sale. If this were done much ex
pense might be avoided by stipulations, which would be assented to at the time of sale, precluding the purchaser from requiring many things, which, after a sale without such stipulations, would be most strenuously insisted on.
Where the property is derived under one title only, the chronological order is the most natural and best to pursue in forming an abstract, but such a course gives rise to great confusion where the property is held under several titles, in which case each separate title should be traced singly to the period when they became united, after which the abstract may be continued according to the order of time.
Where freeholds and copyholds have a connected title, the abstract as to the freehold should contain the equitable title to the copyhold, the legal title to which would be most conveniently made the subject of a separate abstract.
In the selection of the instrument with which to commence an abstract, a deed immediately founded upon some other instrument should be avoided, as, for instance, a simple appointment, (as distinguished from the common conveyance of a release and appointment,) a deed barring an entail or confirmatory of a will, as in such cases an enquiry would always be made for the instrument containing the power creating the entail, or giving rise to the deed in question.
I cannot here altogether pass by unnoticed the important question to which the recent limitation acts have given rise, with respect to the length of time for which a purchaser, uncontrolled by any stipulations, has a right to insist upon having a title shown to him. The question is one of considerable difficulty, and upon which the most eminent conveyancers are not quite agreed. Upon one point, however, there can be no doubt, namely, that the security of titles has been considerably increased, and the danger of taking a title extending over a less period than that of sixty years formerly required, is proportion
ably diminished. I cannot pretend to decide between the different views, but my own impression certainly is, that the period of forty years' ought now to take the place of that of sixty years formerly required ; but as, previous to the recent alterations, many cases existed in which a title extending over that period could not be relied on without an investigation into the earlier title, so, since the passing of the limitation acts, a title extending over a period of forty years cannot, in many cases, be considered as conclusive.
The danger to be feared in accepting a title of less duration than sixty years, and against which even that period afforded no positive security, arises from the circumstance, that time does not run against a remainder-man during the life of a tenant for life, though such tenant for life may himself be barred; thus a tenant for life might, on coming of age, upwards of forty, or even sixty years ago, have made a conveyance in fee, from which period a satisfactory title might be deduced, but yet, if he had died within twenty years, no title could have been acquired against the remainder-man, and possibly owing to disabilities, the title of the remainder-man might be still unbarred, though the death of the tenant for life might have taken place upwards of thirty years preceding. When it is considered that estates for life may be limited to the unborn children of living persons, it must be obvious that extreme cases may be put in which a title of even 100 years would not afford a mathematical certainty as to the security of a purchaser in accepting such a title ; but, nevertheless, I cannot but feel that, taking the probability of danger into consideration, too high an insurance against such danger may be, and generally is, paid in the shape of expenses when a title is investigated without a due allowance for the moral probabilities of the case. I am aware that most conveyancing counsel, though perfectly assent
? 1 Sugd. V. and P. 330, and Arguments of Counsel in Cottrill v. Watkins, 1 Beav. 361.