Rules of Construction

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Rules of Construction


         A cardinal rule in the construction of deeds is that a deed will not be held void for uncertainty of description if a court by any reasonable construction can uphold the deed.  A grant will not fail “for ambiguity of description, if there is a sufficient or particular description which, under the relevant and surrounding facts, will sufficiently identify the land intended to be conveyed.” Aiken v. McMillan, 106 So. 150 (Ala. 1925).

         When succeeding calls are as readily ascertained and are as little liable to mistake, they are of equal dignity with, and may control, the first. Van Valkenburg v. Geron, 249 Ala. 467, 31 So.2d 767 (1947).

         If monuments and boundaries mentioned in a deed are to be found, the description is certain because it can be made certain.   Harris v. Byrd, 79 So. 472 (Ala. 1918).  A call for natural or artificial monuments will prevail over courses and distances. State v. Meaher, 213 Ala. 466, 105 So. 562 (1925.

 Quantity yields to the remainder of the description.  Wheeler v. Wells, 16 So.2d 695 (Ala. 1944).

         A general description can control when it was apparent that was the intent of the grantor.  In this regard, see the Alabama cases of Withers v. Burton, 106 So.2d 876 (Ala. 1959) and Mills v. Jordan, 101 So. 730 (Ala. 1924).  In Mills, the court wrote:

         We think it may be stated as a sound proposition that where the particular description following the general description contains no words manifesting an intention to limit or restrict the general description, and is intended merely as an additional description, then whatever is included in the general description will pass by the grant.

Id.,  101 So. at 731.

         Government survey lines may not be changed by agreement or by act of parties. Nelson v. Garrard, 403 So.2d 230 (1981); Sims v. Sims, 134 So.2d 757 (Ala. 1961).

         Generally conveyances of land bordering on streams, streets, railroads, or highways carry title in fee to the centerline thereof. Brewer v. Avinger, 94 So. 590 (Ala. 1922); Moore v. Johnston, 6 So. 50 (Ala. 1889).

Copyright 2011 by Edward G, Hawkins. All rights reserved.