A deed is any legal instrument, in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest, right or property. It must be signed, attested, delivered and in some jurisdictions (but no longer England and Wales), sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring title to property usually known as conveyancing.
The Land Registry have recently issued updated guidance as to how deeds should be executed (or signed and witnessed).
Each individual must sign “in the presence of a witness who attests the signature” (s1(3) LP (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989).
The witnesses’ signature must be clear and they must also print their name and address beneath their signature. Once again this should be printed clearly.
The same witness may witness each individual signature, but each signature must be separately, attested (in other words the witness must sign and print their details as for the first names signatory to the deed).
A party to the deed cannot witness the signature of another party to the deed.
The relevant legislation does not prevent a signatory’s spouse, civil partner or cohabitee from acting as a witness (if they are not a party to a deed), but according to the Land Registry (and indeed our advice) this is best avoided.
It is also advisable that the witness be no younger than eighteen years old or, at least, of sufficient maturity for their evidence to be relied on should it later prove necessary to verify the circumstances under which the execution took place.
For further information about signing deeds, conveyancing or property law in general why not contact one of Alexander JLO’s expert property team and see what we can do for you?