Property ownership in Louisiana is voluntarily transferred by a contract through the owner and the transferee. A transfer of real (immovable) property can be made by authentic act or by an act under private signature duly acknowledged (CC1839 Art. 1839). An authentic act must be executed in the presence of two witnesses, signed by each party executing it, and signed by the notary public and witnesses. An act under private signature duly acknowledged does not require witnesses to be present while the document is signed; however, witnesses do need to be present when the notary signs the acknowledgment. Louisiana does not provide a statutory form for a deed. The customary forms for a conveyance in this state are the warranty deed and the quitclaim deed. A real estate deed in Louisiana is often referred to as an Act of Sale.
Individuals of a legal age can enter into a conveyance of real property in Louisiana. Property in Louisiana is either community or separate and can thus also be conveyed in those manners (CC 2337). This state does not have any restrictions on alien ownership of real property. The manner in which property is held will determine the type of conveyance used in the transaction.
A deed in Louisiana requires the signature of all grantors involved. Additionally, as a deed is commonly executed as an authentic act, it must also be signed by the notary and the witnesses. Whenever a notary passes any act, they should state the marital status of all parties to the act. The notary should insert the full names of the parties involved, along with the permanent mailing address of the parties'. A document notarized in Louisiana should bear the notary identification number assigned by the secretary of state, except that notaries who are also attorneys may use their Louisiana state bar roll number (RS 35-12).The marital status and the separate or community nature of the property must always be stated in a deed. If a person is married and there is no mention of status in the deed, the property is presumed to be community property. This requires the signatures of both spouses. It is customary to state the actual consideration paid for a piece of property.
The recording act in Louisiana is a race act, which means that the first document filed will have priority. This principle is generally referred to as the Public Records Doctrine, which states that a person may rely on the absence of a document in the public records. The transfer of ownership takes place between the parties by the effect of the agreement and is not effective against third parties until the contract is filed for registration in the conveyance records in the parish where the property is located (CC 517 Art. 517).
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