The importance of executing deeds and documents correctly

Ensuring your client executes the deeds and documents that are related to their planning is a vital part of the process to ensure that their planning is in place.

At CTT Group, we are trying to make this as clear as possible for your clients, therefore we have recently updated the signing sheets which will be going live soon.

What is the execution of deeds and documents?

To execute a document is to sign a document. It is important to execute deeds correctly to ensure that they are valid and enforceable, and by executing all other documentation correctly, you will avoid delays and inconvenience. The majority of deeds and documents are signed in wet ink on paper, but now some are signed electronically where there may be different formalities to comply with.

How do different people execute deeds?

Individuals – Section 1(3) Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989

As per section 1(3) of the LP(MP)A 1989 and Section 2 of Land Registry Practice Guide 8, there are three elements to the execution of deeds by individuals:

Signature

  • For a deed to be validly executed, each individual must usually sign the document
  • OR they can make their mark as per s1(4) LP(MP)A 1989
  • OR it can be signed at the individual’s direction and in the presence of two witnesses

Attestation by a witness

  • Each individual who is required to sign must sign in the presence of a witness
  • The witness must sign the deed and print their full name and address in a legible form so that if needed, the witnesses can be found
  • The same witness can witness each individual’s signature, but each signature must be separately attested
  • Witnesses must have mental capacity, and should not be under the age of 18 OR be the partner/family member of the individual’s signature they are witnessing
  • As per Seal v Claridge 1881 a party to the deed cannot witness the signature of another party to the deed

Delivery

  • A deed must be delivered to become legally binding and this means that the person signing it wishes to be bound by the terms.

Companies – S44 Companies Act 2006

Companies can sign deeds in the following ways:

  • By affixing the company seal
  • Signed by one director in the presence of a witness
  • Signed by two directors without the presence of a witness
  • Signed by one director and the company secretary

Common mistakes when executing deeds and documents

At CTT Group we draft many deeds and documents for signature such as:

  • Trust Deeds
  • Deeds of Severance
  • TR1 Forms

We often come across the following mistakes, which can cause delays to your clients’ planning:

  • Deeds and documents are not witnessed
  • They are incorrectly witnessed
  • They are witnessed by a family member
  • They are not signed by all parties
  • The signature or witness’ writing is illegible.

We often have to place cases on hold and await the correctly signed and witnessed documentation, which only delays the client’s planning. To avoid these mistakes, please ensure your clients follow our signing sheets attached to the deeds or documents and instructions on the letters sent to them.

We have recently updated the signing sheets to make them more detailed and easier to read, which should lead to fewer errors, meaning your client’s planning is in place as soon as possible. We will alert all advisors when the signing sheets go live… so watch this space!

Ensuring that your client has executed their documents correctly is a very important part of the process, as without this, their estate planning could be void. In order to support your clients, being familiar with the documentation yourself will help encourage clients to follow the signing sheets.

If you are an existing member, when the new signing sheets go live, please ensure you encourage your clients to use them as this will lead to fewer signing errors.

If you are not a member and would like to find out more, please click here.

To find out more about the courses we offer, please click here.

This article was submitted to be published by CTT Group as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

Read more stories

Join over 6,000 wills and probate practitioners – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our weekly round up every Friday morning. 

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.

Features