What is an act?
An act is a signed legal document which grants its holder specific rights over an asset, provided that it fulfills a certain number of conditions. They are most often used to transfer ownership of automobiles or land between two parties.
Key points to remember
- An act is a signed legal document which transfers the title of a property to a new owner, granting him the privilege of ownership.
- The act is the vehicle for transferring a title and is not the title itself.
- If the act is not written, notarized and entered in the public file, he could be vulnerable to legal challenges.
- The transfer of ownership can be confused even when a perfect deed is filed.
How an act works
The purpose of an act is to transfer a title, a legal document proving ownership of property or property, to another person. For the document to be binding in court, it must be placed on the public record by a local government official responsible for keeping the documents. The signing of an act must be notarized and may require witnesses according to state laws.
If the act is not written, notarized and entered in the public file, it can be considered as an imperfect act. The document and transfer of title are still valid, but related documents may need to be clarified with the state in the event of a court challenge.
The register of acts is accessible to the public and is generally kept up to date at county, city or state level.
Other types of documents that confer privileges comparable to acts include commissions, university degrees, licenses to practice, patents and powers of attorney.
Types of acts
There are many types of acts, each for different purposes. They are generally classified in the following ways:
- Grant acts: These contain two guarantees: that the asset has not been sold to someone else and that it is not encumbered with any charge, such as outstanding liens or mortgages, which have not yet been disclosed. These types of acts do not necessarily need to be registered or notarized, although it is generally in the best interest of the recipient to ensure that this is done.
- Warranty acts: This document offers the greatest protection. It offers the same guarantees as an act of concession, as well as a promise that the grantor will guarantee and defend the title against claims.
- Disclaimer: Releases a person’s interest in an asset without specifying the nature of their interest or rights. The grantor may or may not be a legal owner and makes no promises. Waiver requests are generally used in divorce situations.
Limitations of acts
The transfer of ownership can be confused even when a perfect deed is filed. There could be a cloud over the title for various reasons. False documents may be filed which require clarification with the registrars. Alternatively, there may also be probate issues. For example, if the owner of a property dies without defining in a will who should take control of his estate, the heirs can challenge in court for the title of property.
Furthermore, conferring a title by an act does not necessarily grant the new owner the right to use the property as he sees fit. For example, a person who signs a deed for a particular section of the land has the legal right to own that land but may not be able to build a shooting range because of the potential risk that it would pose.
In other cases, the holder of title to a property may own the land, but for environmental reasons would not be allowed to develop it.