DELIVERY OF DEEDS

A deed's effectiveness is dependant on its delivery from the grantor and its acceptance by the grantee, Murphy v. Hanright, 238 Mass. 200, 130 N.E. 204 (1921). Ultimately, delivery is a question of fact, Murphy, 238 Mass. at 204, although several guidelines can be gleaned from the caselaw.

First, the Grantor must possess a present intent to pass title to the grantee with the delivery of the deed,  Murphy v. Smith, 291 Mass. 93, 195 N.E. 912 (1935).  In addition, the Grantee must demonstrate a concomitant intention to accept the deed, usually by some affirmative act, Jucho v. Toton,338 Mass. 309, 155 N.E.2d 162 (1959).  Of course as a practical matter, intent is usually not in question.  The parties to a modern sale of realty have usually entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement wherein the intent of the parties is clearly manifested.

Secondly, its been held that the effective date of the deed is the date of delivery,  Federal Trust Co. v. Bristol County St. Ry., 222 Mass. 35, 109 N.E. 880 (1915). Conversely, the date of execution is unimportant.  Harrison v. Trustees of Phillips Academy, 12 Mass. 456 (1815).  Title Standard 46 incorporates this holding in providing that  "...[t]itle derived through an instrument recorded an appreciable period of time after the dated of execution of the instrument...is not on that account defective."  M.C.A. Title Standard 46.

Lastly, the legislature has created a statutory presumption of delivery.  The statute provides in salient part, that the recordation of a Deed is "...conclusive evidence of the delivery of such instrument..." M.G.L. c. 183 § 5.