What’s the procedure for executing a deed of transfer?
I’m acting for a couple in the sale of a property. Both clients signed the transfer in the same attestation clause. Their signatures were witnessed. HM Land Registry returned the transfer saying each client needs a separate attestation. What’s the correct procedure?
Where two or more people are executing a deed, each signature should be separately attested.
This will make it clear that:
- all the signatures were contemporaneously witnessed (section 1(3) of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989)
- all signatories had the required intention to execute the instrument as a deed (section 1(2) of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989)
HM Land Registry will check that:
- a witness has signed the deed
- their signature clearly records the witnessing of the signing of the deed by each individual
- the name and address of the witness appear in legible form on the deed
The same witness may witness each individual signature. However, each signature should be separately attested, unless it’s absolutely clear by express wording on the face of the attestation that the witness is witnessing both or all signatures in the presence of the named signatories.
For more information, see HM Land Registry’s practice guide 8: execution of deeds.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.
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