Execution of Instruments

Execution of Instruments: Overview

When insuring conveyances or encumbrances of real property, it is essential to verify that the person or persons executing the instruments are authorized to do so.


Generally, those executing instruments must be of legal age and be mentally competent. Deeds and mortgages from those holding title to real property should be executed in the same manner as they hold title (i.e., John Harbinger Doe will sign as his name appears of record and not as John H. Doe or John Doe). In ‘homestead’ states, the spouse of the person conveying title or encumbering real property will normally be required to join in the execution of the deed or mortgage, even though he or she may not hold an interest or be in record title of the property. 


When insuring conveyances or encumbrances involving corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, or the statutory entities capable of holding and conveying title, one must verify that the entity exists and is in good standing and, if not provided for via statute, a corporate resolution or partnership agreement, as applicable, should be obtained authorizing the person or persons who will be executing the documents to do so on behalf of the corporation or partnership. Typically, the CEO, President, or Vice President will be recognized, by statute, as being authorized to sign deeds and mortgages on behalf of their corporations. The rules described under Deeds section for limited liability companies are applicable to the execution of other instruments executed on behalf of such limited liability companies. As in all entities created by law, the powers for a limited liability company to act must comply with the terms of its articles of organization and its operating agreement. With respect to general or limited partnerships, execution by all general partners would be preferable; however, execution by any one general partner will suffice with proper supporting documentation giving this authority. 


Deeds and mortgages executed in the name of a trust should be signed by the trustee, while those executed under power of attorney should be signed by the appointed attorney-in-fact. Conveyances and encumbrances made in accordance with a will should be executed by the personal representative of the estate


In all cases, documents should be reviewed to determine who is authorized to sign – i.e., corporate resolution, partnership agreement, articles of organization and operating agreement of a limited liability company, trust documents, power of attorney, wills, probate records.