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Tis the Seisin

August 17, 2013

I was kibbitzing with another lawyer the other day about transfers of real property and what the buyer and seller had to do to make the transfer effective.

I suggested that, as in the Middle Ages, the buyer and seller could go out to the land and in a formal witnessed ceremony the seller could hand a clod of dirt to the buyer to effectuate the transfer of ownership.

(This isn’t enough now, as you might have guessed, but it was once if one also added a twig to the clod of dirt.  You can look it up online under “Livery of Seisin.” You will see.)

We were both greatly amused.

(As an aside, later in time I believe, the statements of the witnesses were taken who saw this deed take place, which is where I think the word “deed” originated for recorded conveyances.)

That’s all I want to say today.  Have a good weekend.


David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California.  His website is at .


From → Bubbe Meises, Law

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