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Legal Memorandum: Validity of a Deed in PA

Issue: Is a deed in Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions valid when only one of multiple grantors signatures is valid?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts
Keywords: Valid deed; Signature of grantors
Jurisdiction: Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington
Cited Cases: 100 So. 2d 331; 38 P. 1116; 970 So. 2d 193; 37 A.2d 572; 553 N.E.2d 602
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2008

            Donnelly v. Rafferty, 172 Pa. 587, 33 A. 754 (1896) (a deed signed by less than all of the grantors will be valid against those who did sign, provided that there is nothing on the face of the deed to indicate an intent that the conveyance would be valid only if all the grantors signed [dicta]).

            Walker v. Walker, 67 Pa. 185 (1871) (deed signed by married women who did not identify themselves as such held valid against the other grantors).

            Brown v. Long, 1 Yeates 162 (Pa. 1792) (“a deed proved to be executed by several of the grantors, though not by them all, and not recorded, might be read in evidence”).

Contra: 

Axe v. Potts, 349 Pa. 345, 37 A.2d 572 (1944) (agreement executed by two of three owners was incomplete on its face).

Keller v. Donkin, 31 Pa. D. & C. 636 (1938) (in order to pass good title, a deed must be signed at the end by all grantors; deed in that case was signed by none of the grantors).

See also 21 Pa. Stat. § 252 (2008) (“No deed, grant, conveyance or assurance, heretofore made, of any lands, tenements or hereditaments whatsoever, shall be judged or taken to be defective, avoided or prejudiced, for or by reason of any want of form, or formal or orderly parts of a deed, as the Premises, Habendum, Tenendum, Reddendum, the Clause of Warrantee, the Conclusion, In Witness whereof, […]

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