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Basic Conveyance Principles

David E. Pierce, Nuts and Bolts of Mineral Title Examination (2012)

This article examines the range of local laws governing the conveyance of interests in real property. For animate owners, real property interests can be conveyed by grant during the grantor's lifetime, or by a will or will substitute that transfers property when the owner dies. Inanimate owners convey property through authorized agents during their corporate existence, including any statutory winding-up period. Title examiners must determine whether property has been effectively conveyed to a grantee and, if not, whether the property passed by some other transfer, often at the death of the owner.

This article also considers encumbrances that often burden real property. Title examiners must identify encumbrances that impact the ability to develop the property and to distribute revenue generated by the property. Under American property law “ownership” in real property is often fragmented among numerous owners possessing rights created by liens, leases, licenses, covenants, and easements. Public restrictions, such as zoning, also impact the ability to develop property.