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Chapter 15

Voluntary Transfers of
Interests in Real Property:
Conveyancing by Deed
Metzger v. Miller
What are the facts of this case?
Miller, custodian of property seized under the
Trading with the Enemy Act, seeks to seize real
property in California
The property is occupied by Metzger who
claims that the property was gifted to him pre-
war by him mother who lived in Germany and
who inherited the property from a relative
The conveyance to him was by a series of
Metzger v. Miller
What is the legal issue?
What does it take to constitute a valid deed
Identity of grantor and grantee
Signed by grantor
Describe property being conveyed with sufficient
Language of grant or conveyance
At common law, what interest would the
letters have conveyed to Metzger?
Does court conclude Metzger has good
Could Metzger convey a good title?
Lemehaute v. Lemehaute
What are the facts of this case?
Vincent, the owner of Blackacre, sought to avoid having
the property go through probate while at the same time
benefiting his wife, adult child and two minor children
He conveyed the property to his wife and daughter as
joint tenants with the daughter to hold in trust for the
minors. However the deed made no mention of the trust
The deed was recorded.
Vincent kept the deed.
Later he tried to re-convey in a way to include the minors,
the daughter refused. Later she also refused to consent
to a mortgage
Later he seeks a declaration the daughter has no interest
on the theory there was no delivery
Lemehaute v. Lemehaute
What presumptions does the court indulge
If deed in possession of a grantee it
presumably was delivered. There is also such a
presumption when the deed was recorded.
If there are multiple grantees, delivery to one is
presumptively delivery to all.
But isn’t the presumption rebutted because
Vincent was also a grantor? And , was also in
Also, Vincent’s acts belie no delivery. First, the
wife took possession and asked permission
from daughter to mortgage.
Rosengrant v. Rosengrant
H and W, a retired couple conveyed land to nephew Jay who
was taking care of them in the old age
The deed was handed to Jay who then handed it to the
banker stating keep it until something happened to H and W.
The banker put the deed in an envelope with the names of H
and W on it believing they could reclaim it anytime they
Concerned later about the legality of the transaction, H and
W contacted an attorney who advised them it probably was
but that they ought to have a will which they never signed.
After H died, Jay had the deed recorded. H’s other others
claim an interest in the land
Rosengrant v. Rosengrant
What does the court hold?
Incomplete delivery in the banker’s office
Do you agree with the court
This is a common “death escrow” case.
Would H’s continued possession of the realty
be inconsistent with a death escrow?
Is their another way to construe the “death
Ferguson v. Caspar
Caspar contracted to sell a row house to Ferguson for
23,000 with the seller to convey the property free of all
housing code violations. That promise was not to merge into
the deed.
During the executory period the buyer found numerous code
violations and received an estimate of some 6,000 to repair
Seller knew of them also but buyer made no issue of them at
closing and did not seek seller’s authority to have the
escrowee hold back 6000.
When buyer unilaterally asked escrowee to hold back 6,000,
it refused to complete the transaction under these different
terms and seller left the closing.
Buyer sought specific performance
What did the court hold?