•   Email
  •   Print
Serving
Massachusetts Agencies

Estoppel by Deed

Estoppel by Deed

Estoppel by deed is a doctrine created by the courts that provides that a covenant of warranty in a deed by a grantor who has no title to the land conveyed will, where the grantor thereafter acquires title to the property, result in the title so acquired inuring to the grantee. The doctrine was designed to equitably right a wrong, and to hold the grantor to his covenant, and fortify the grantee's title if the grantor thereafter acquired it. But the doctrine is not just a shield; it is sword, too. For, its application technically would require that every grantor in the chain be examined even before they acquired title to see if any of them had described and purported to convey the subject property before the record showed they had come into title. Although the doctrine was applied in Ayer v. Philadelphia & Boston Face Brick Co, 159 Mass. 84, 34 N.E. 177 (1893) it was nevertheless criticized, but the court refused to abandon it and left it to the legislature to change it:

We are aware that this rule, especially as applied to subsequent grantees, while followed in some states, has been criticised (sic) in others. See Rawle, Cov. (4th Ed.) 427 et seq. But it has been too long established and acted on in Massachusetts to be changed except by legislation.