What Is a Legal Description?

A legal description is a delineation of real estate that identifies a property for legal purposes. In the event of a dispute after a property is sold or one raised by a tenant, a homeowner or landlord will be able to identify the real property in question. A legal description is written with a clear description of the land and the quantity of the land.

While setting up an instrument of conveyance or deed, it is imperative to use the right legal description. As a rule, the best way to do this is to use the description from the latest property deed.

Specifications of a Legal Description

Description of the land
Land is described in several ways–by fractional designation where rectangular surveying is used to accurately describe the common form and different sections of a land; by metes and bounds that reference the various points (north, south, east, and west) of a property, such as a street on the south or a river in the west; and by a lot and block survey that uses the newest land description system to assign boundaries for specific plots or blocks of land.

Quantity of the land
Land is measured in acres while the buildings are measured in square foot. In most cases, quantity of the land is unnecessary when boundaries of the land to be sold have already been outlined in a land survey.

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The Most Effective Method for Finding Legal Description

The best place to locate a legal description is basically the latest deed to the property (the deed that transferred the property to the present owner). The description is typically contained within the body of the deed.

A legal description is typically preceded by an introduction, for example, “… described as follows.” This indicates that the legal description is about to start. The legal description is regularly set in boldface type or double-indented to separate it from the rest of the document.

Sometimes, the legal description is placed as an exhibit. Assuming this is the case, the body of the instrument of conveyance or deed will generally reference the appended legal description.

For instance, the body of the deed may allude to the property as “… the property described on Exhibit ‘A’ attached hereto.”
Exhibit “A” will be appended to the deed and will contain the legal description.


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