Submitted by: Sherry Lowe
There are several key components to any deed: 1) The name of the Grantor - the person selling the property (marital status should also be listed) 2) The name of the Grantee - the person buying the property (marital status should also be listed) 3) Consideration - amount paid for the property 4) Legal Description - either metes and bounds (i. e. N 32 34 01 W) or standard wording (i. e. from the stone at the corner to the birch tree) By the way N 32 34 01 W is read North 32 degrees 34 minutes and 01 seconds West (there are 360 degrees in a circle, 60 minutes in one degree and 60 seconds in one minute) and all such descriptions are measured from 0 which should be true North. 5) Source of Title - At the end of every description (older deeds sometimes failed to list this info but it is a requirement for modern deeds and can usually be consistently found back through the 1900's and in most of the 1800's deeds) is a statement of what deed the above described property was derived from. Example: "Being a part of that same property having been conveyed to the Grantor by deed as recorded in Deed Book 234 at Page 34 of the Carter County Court Clerk's Kentucky deed records." if only a portion of the property is being conveyed. "Being the same property having been conveyed to the Grantor by deed as recorded in Deed Book 234 at Page 34 of the Carter County Court Clerk's Kentucky deed records" if all of the property is being conveyed. Using the source of title you can trace a property backwards or forwards. If I know who currently owns a piece of property I can trace the source of title backwards as far as the records go. If I've found an old deed I can trace that property forward just by running the indices for any property conveyed by that person. After listing these conveyances you read each one until you find the conveyance with the correct source of title. Example of a chain of title using the source from 1838 to 2007 (this can take a long time if any of the owners sold large quantities of property): a) On January 1, 1854 John Doe buys a piece of property and it is recorded in Deed Book 10 at page 345. I would run the indices under the name of John Doe until it's reasonable to assume that he is dead. I then would look up each conveyance from John Doe, until I either find a deed with a matching source of title or until I find a conveyance from his estate that has this matching source of title. b) John Doe sold this tract of land on February 23, 1867 to Jim Smith and it is recorded in Deed Book 15 at page 422. I repeat the above process by running the indices for Jim Smith until I'm sure that I'm past a reasonable date of death. Look up all his conveyances until I find the match. c) Jim Smith sold this tract of land on March 10, 1930 to Sam Jones and it is recorded in Deed Book 101 at page 33. d) Sam Jones sells the property on April 22, 1975 to Sally Carter and it is recorded in Deed Book 150 at page 345. e) Sally Carter dies and her estate sells the property May 7, 2006 to Joe Brown and it is recorded in Deed Book 234 at Page 34 and he still owns the property. You can now go the PVA office look up Joe Brown and find the map identification for the property and go to the map and see exactly where your gr gr grandfather John Doe's property was located. It's much easier to do this in reverse. If you know the current owner of gr gr grandfather's property, you find their deed, check the source of title and go backwards. It is easier to go backwards because you have a more defined time period for each owner. Example of a chain of title using the source from 2007 to 1838 (this takes usually is much quicker): a) Joe Brown purchased the property on May 7, 2006 - check the computer and find his deed. Read his deed and find the source of title which tells you that he purchased the property from the estate of Sally Carter and that Sally Carter bought the property on April 22, 1975 as recorded in Deed Book 150 at page 345. You then pull Deed Book 150 at page 345. (Note: if Joe Brown owns more than one piece of property, you will have to repeat this entire process for each piece of property, until you find the correct piece of property.) b) Then pull Deed Book 150 and go to page 345, you will find from the source of title that Sally Carter bought the property from Sam Jones and that Sam Jones bought the property on March 10, 1930 from Jim Smith as recorded in Deed Book 101 at page 33 by reading the source of title. c) Then pull Deed Book 101 at page 33, the source of title will tell you that Jim Smith bought the property on March 10, 1930 as recorded Deed Book 15 at page 422. d) Then pull Deed Book 15 at page 422 and you will find that the property was purchased from your gr gr grandfather and that your gr gr grandfather's deed is recorded in Deed Book 10 at page 345. In either situation, if you should find yourself with an old deed that does not have a source of title, the only thing you can do is compare the actual description to try to determine when and how much of the property has been sold. Remember when there are multiple owners, you need to look for deeds under all names. If a deed is conveyed to John Doe and Sam Smith, when they sell it the deed may be from Sam Smith and John Doe. In the old records, the deed is indexed under the first name listed on the deed. So when it was first bought it would have been indexed under John Doe in the grantee book but when it's sold in the above example it would be indexed in the Grantor index under Sam Smith. 6) Type of conveyance - General Warranty (the property is in good condition and has a sound and clear title) or with restrictions and reservations (the property may be in disrepair or the grantor is keeping something for instance mineral rights or perhaps the property is subject to some legal consideration such as a lease or right of way, or life estate interest etc.) 7) Consideration statement - Grantor must swear that the amount paid for the property is correctly stated, subject to fine and jail time. 8) Signature of the Grantor - the person conveying the property must sign the deed. Note that is the grantor is married, then the spouse must also sign to convey any dower interest. 9) Signature of the Grantee - the person buying the property must sign to also confirm that the stated consideration paid for the property is correct. 10) Notary - a state authorized Notary Public must witness the signing of the deed and attest to the fact that the proper persons did sign the deed. 11) Preparation Signature - In Kentucky it is not required that a deed be prepared by an attorney; however, the person that prepares the deed must sign as the preparer and list their name and address. Remember that Kentucky is a "race state" which means that the first one to the courthouse wins. If two people have a deed for the same property, whether total parcel or some part of the parcel, the first deed to be recorded receives legal preference and title to the property, regardless of the date of the deeds. If I convey a lot to you on Jan 1, 2007 and on February 1, 2007, I convey a second parcel of land to John Doe that inadvertently or purposely includes a part or all of the property previously conveyed to you, but you don't record your deed until March 1 and John Doe recorded his deed February 1, 2007, John Doe's deed takes legal preference. So in Kentucky it is very important that a deed be recorded as soon as possible, and remember it is your responsibility to record the deed, not the person who prepared the deed even when prepared by an attorney. Very few attorneys record the deeds they prepare - it is the responsibility of the grantee to see that their deed is recorded. And if you have a plat of your property, MAKE SURE IT GETS RECORDED WITH THE DEED. If there is a typo in the deed, the plat takes preference. I've attached two different forms (MS Word .doc files) to help with the search. First establish the chain of title, second complete a deed search sheet for each owner listed on your chain of title sheet and fill in the time period that the person owned the property and then run that person as a grantor to find where they sold the property.
Chain of Title