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Deeds - what formalities are required?

If a contract or other document is intended or legally required to be in the form of a deed, it must be in writing and executed by an individual in the presence of a witness, or if by a company it must be executed by a director in the presence of a witness or by two directors or by a director and the company secretary. To be a valid deed, a document must also state that it is intended to be a deed and that it is executed as such, and it must be “delivered”.

Some types of document must be in the form of a deed in order to be valid but sometimes the parties to a document choose to put their document in the form of a deed, although it is not legally necessary to do so for it to be valid.

Whilst deeds must be set out in writing and signed and witnessed, they will be valid if in, and executed in, electronic form. The signatures of those executing the deed and witnessing that signature may be in electronic form.

Further detail can be found in the two Guidance Notes referred to below.

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