DEFINITION of 'Deed'

A legal document that grants the bearer a right or privilege, provided that he or she meets a number of conditions. In order to receive the privilege - usually ownership, the bearer must be able to do so without causing others undue hardship. A person who poses a risk to society as a result of holding a deed may be restricted in his or her ability to use the property.

Deeds are most known for being used to transfer the ownership of automobiles or land between two parties.

BREAKING DOWN 'Deed'

For example, an individual who holds a deed for a particular section of land has a legal right to possess that land, but may not be able to build a shooting range on it because of the danger it would pose. In other cases, a holder of the title to a piece of property may be able to own the land but, for environmental reasons, not be allowed to develop it.

Some other popular examples of deeds are commissions, academic degrees, licenses to practice, patents and powers of attorney, each of which grant the holder a given right or privilege.

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