Forged deeds are void ab initio
Any time a deed is forged, that deed becomes void, considered null ab initio, from the beginning. It cannot be registered, and its intended function as a conveyance of property is completely inoperable and unenforceable. Simply making a claim is not sufficient to render it void, however. If a party does claim forgery of a deed, that party has the burden of proof to present evidence to support that claim. Bellaire Kirkpatrick Joint Venture v. Loots, 826 S.W.2d 205 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 1992, writ denied). Edwards v. Federal National Mortgage Association, 545 S.W.3d 169 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2017, pet. denied).
Forged deeds are void ab initio – What constitutes forged deed
Examples of forgery may include a person who shares the same name as a property owner, but is not in fact the property owner, yet that person signs and executes a deed as the owner of the property; a deed signed by an unconscious person is a forgery; filling in blanks of a deed without owning the property and without the consent of the property owner is forgery. Adams v. Thompson, 95 S.W.2d 722, 723 (Tex. Civ. App.—Texarkana 1936, writ refused). Winkler v. Winkler, 26 S.W. 893, 894 (Tex. Civ. App. 1894, no writ). Erwin v. Curtis, 5 S.W.2d 547, 549 (Tex. Civ. App.—Eastland 1928, writ refused).
Forged deeds are void ab initio – Innocent purchasers have no rights under forged deed
Even when the party purchasing the land is innocent of fraud and has no knowledge of the prior forgery, if the title is fraudulent at any point in its history, the title is void. Dyson Descendant Corp. v. Sonat Exploration Co., 861 S.W.2d 942 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, no writ). One Texas court asserted that “no matter in what good faith the party acted who claims under it, the forged instrument is as absolutely void and ineffective as though it had never existed.” Texas Osage Co-op. Royalty Pool v. Cruze, 191 S.W.2d 47, 54 (Tex. Civ. App.—Austin 1945, no writ), citing Alamo Trust Co. v. Cunningham, 203 S.W. 413, 414 (Tex. Civ. App.—San Antonio 1918, no writ).
The importance of a deed in the conveyance of property cannot be overstated. Working with an experienced lawyer knowledgeable about the ins and outs of real estate transactions will provide the best possibility of a successful real estate transaction for both a buyer and a seller.
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