Legal Definition of Delivery

The transferring of a deed from the grantor to the grantee in such a manner as to deprive him of the right to recall it.6 min read

The transferring of a deed from the grantor to the grantee in such a manner as to deprive him of the right to recall it, or the delivery may be made and accepted by an attorney. This is indispensably necessary to the validity of a deed except for the deed of a corporation, which must be executed under their common seal. But although, as a general rule the delivery of a deed is essential to its perfection, it is never averred in pleading.

As to the form, the delivery may be by words without acts; such as if the deed be lying upon a table, and the grantor says to the grantee, 'take that as my deed'; or it may be by acts without words, and therefore a dumb man may deliver a deed.

A delivery may be either absolute, as when it is delivered to the grantor himself; or it may be conditional, such as to a third person to keep until some condition shall have been performed by the grantee, and then it is called an escrow.

What Are Contracts?

Contracts. The transmitting the possession of a thing from one person into the power and possession of another.

What Did Delivery Used to Mean?

Originally, delivery was a clear and unequivocal act of giving possession, accomplished by placing the subject to be transferred in the hands of the buyer or his avowed agent, or in their respective warehouses, vessels, carts, and the like. This delivery was properly considered as the true badge of transferred property; as importing full evidence of consent to transfer; preventing the appearance of possession in the transferrer from continuing the credit of property unduly; and avoiding uncertainty and risk in the title of the acquirer.

Complications With the Old Meaning

However, the complicated transactions of modern trade render strict adherence to this simple rule impossible. It often happens that the purchaser of a commodity cannot take immediate possession and receive the delivery. The bulk of the goods; their peculiar situation, as when they are deposited in public custody for duties, or in the hands of a manufacturer for the purpose of having some operation performed upon them; the frequency of bargains concluded by correspondence between distant countries and many other obstructions, frequently render it impracticable to give or receive actual delivery. In such cases, something short of actual delivery has been considered sufficient to transfer the property.

What Type of Intent Is Needed In a Delivery?

In sales, gifts, and other contracts, where the party intends to transfer the property, the delivery must be made with the intent to enable the receiver to obtain dominion over it. The delivery may be actual, by putting the thing sold in the hands or possession of the purchaser; or it may be symbolical, as where a man buys goods which are in a room, the receipt of the keys will be sufficient.

There is sometimes considerable difficulty in ascertaining the particular period when the property in the goods sold passes from the vendor to the vendee; and what facts amount to an actual delivery of the goods. Certain rules have been established, and the difficulty is to apply the facts of the case.

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