Wiggill v. Cheney

597 P.2d 1351



A deed, to be operative as a transfer of the ownership of land, or an interest or estate therein, must be delivered. A valid delivery of a deed requires it pass beyond the control or domain of the grantor. The requisite relinquishment of control or dominion over the deed may be established, notwithstanding the fact the deed is in possession of the grantor at her death, by proof of facts which tend to show delivery had been made with the intention to pass title and to explain the grantor's subsequent possession. However, in order for a delivery effectively to transfer title, the grantor must part with possession of the deed or the right to retain it.


The grantor signed a warranty deed and placed the deed in a sealed envelope in a safety deposit box. After the grantor's death, the executor retrieved the deed from the safety deposit box and delivered it the grantee. The trial court invalidated the deed, and on appeal, the court affirmed.


Whether the acts of the executor constituted a delivery of the deed such as to render it enforceable as a valid conveyance.




The evidence established that the grantor remained in sole possession and control of the deed until her death. Because no delivery occurred prior to the grantor's death, the subsequent manual delivery by the executor conveyed no title to the property.

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