There are various forms of deeds according to their purpose and objects, and differences will be found ill those of the several States. However the simple form of deed by which title is passed is substantially the same in all States. In New York it is the form known as the "bargain and sale deed," and its phraseology is prescribed by statute as follows:
THIS INDENTURE, made the day of nineteen hundred and , between , part of the first part and
, part of the second part, WITNESSETH, that the part of the first part, in consideration of
Dollars, lawful money of the United States, paid by the part of the second part, do hereby grant and release unto the part of the second part, and assigns forever,
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the premises herein granted unto the part of the second part, and assigns forever
AND the said covenant that he ha not done or suffered anything whereby the said premises have been incumbered in any way whatever
In presence of
The opening words are "This Indenture." They have no significance now. The instrument would be just as effectual without them. They survive from the ancient days when the documents were written in duplicate on the same sheet, then torn apart, each party keeping a piece (indenture). To prove genuineness they were fitted together to see if the torn edge of one fitted the other.
These words are followed by the date. As in contracts it is not necessary that the deed be dated. It is convenient as a memorandum of the time of signing, however, and in the absence of proof to the contrary is presumed to be the date of delivery of the instrument. For that reason deeds are usually dated.
Next are set forth the names of the seller and the purchaser in that order. Each name should for identification be followed by the address of the party. In New York and some other States it is required that the purchaser's address be designated in detail as to street and number. In the deed under discussion the seller is designated "party of the first part" and purchaser "party of the second part." They are also termed respectively "grantor" and "grantee." If the seller is married he must give a deed free of his wife's dower. She may sign and deliver a separate instrument releasing her dower. It is however customary for her to accomplish the same result by joining as a grantor in the deed. In that case the wording should read "John Jones and Mary Jones, his wife." Her name should always be followed by words indicating her status as wife. "Witnesseth" has no present-day meaning whatever, and could be omitted without affecting the validity of the instrument.