When Are Deeds Testamentary

It is no objection to a deed that it is used as a substitute for a will, to avoid the expense and delay of probate proceedings. The frequent litigation arising over such deeds, however, shows that this expedient is a* dangerous one unless the grantor uses great care to avoid certain snares and pitfalls which the law in its wisdom provides for the unwary. The grantor may attempt to accomplish his purpose either by express provisions embodied in the deed itself, or by external, collateral conditions, preserved by the delivery of the deed to a deposifory. This paper will consider how far the transfer of the title may be suspended by (1)’ internal, and (2) by external conditions precedent; and particularly how far extrinsic evidence of conditional delivery will be allowed to determine the estates which the instrument shall create and the contingencies upon which it shall become fully operative.