The Importance of a Complete Legal Description in Property Deeds and Estate Documents

A legal description is a written record of a piece of land containing information that clearly identifies it. In a real estate deed or any type of document related to the transfer of ownership of property, a legal description of the real property being conveyed is universally required to be present. Legal descriptions of real estate must always identify the county and state the property is located in. The most common methods used to create legal descriptions are rectangular survey, metes and bounds, and the lot and block systems.

Legal descriptions need to serve as precise locaters of the land being conveyed. An accurate legal description is essential for property transfers. This is especially pertinent for property that has changed hands numerous times in the past, but is just as essential for new construction. An incorrect description, unnoticed or ignored for years, can result in boundary disputes, title problems, the construction of improvements on the wrong property, and could permanently alter the boundary lines of a property. A deed that fails to accurately describe a tract of land, or that is incomplete, is considered void and not enforceable in a court of law.

The type of description used depends on the system currently in place in the state and county where the property is located. The description will typically appear on sales contracts and the property deed. Sometimes, the legal description is attached as an exhibit to the deed. If so, the body of the deed will usually reference the attached legal description. Relying solely on legal property descriptions available from the appraisal district or simply providing a street address and name is not advisable and will often create defect in title that can usually only be cured through the use of the Court System – an expensive and unpredictable path. While Texas Courts will always attempt to give effect to the intent of the parties, a property description must provide a basis for the land to be identified on the ground with reasonable certainty.

If you need assistance preparing a property deed or properly interpreting a legal description, or would like to make sure your own property and real estate deeds are enforceable in a court of law, the attorneys at Waldron & Schneider are here to assist.

The legal information in this blog entry is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, nothing contained in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. This article and website are made available by Waldron & Schneider for educational purposes only and to give basic information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Waldron & Schneider. The article and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. For more information or questions you can contact us and one of our attorneys will be in touch soon.
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