You will see 25 scored Real Property MBE questions on the Multistate Bar Exam.
We will be posting a Multistate Bar Exam question once every couple days along with an answer. Note that these are MBE questions that students commonly get wrong. If you can master the questions in our series, it could increase your MBE score by that many points if you see any of these issues tested again (which, by the way, you will!). These posts of MBE tips and tricks will not only cover substantive law but also strategy. So each post will cover one highly-tested area of substantive law as well as an important MBE strategy.
Today, we will review a Real Property MBE question that tests a common Real Property MBE issue–deed delivery! Do your best to answer this question (before even looking at the answer choices and before looking at the answer below!) Ask yourself: What is the subject? What is the legal issue? What is the rule and analysis? What is the conclusion? Try to answer these beginning questions before even reading the answer choices. Then, uncover the Real Property MBE answer as well as read more about our MBE tip of the day.
Real Property MBE Question:
A mother, who was the owner in fee simple of Blackacre, validly executed and conveyed the land to her daughter via a quitclaim deed. Her daughter paid no consideration and failed to record the deed. Six months later, the mother asked the daughter to rip up the deed and stated that she instead wished to keep the land. The daughter voluntarily destroyed the deed. One week later, the mother and the daughter were killed in an accident. They both died intestate. The heirs of mother and the heirs of the daughter both claim title to Blackacre.
Who has title to Blackacre?
(A) The mother’s heirs, because the daughter never recorded her interest in the land.
(B) The mother’s heirs, because the daughter ripped up the deed.
(C) The mother’s heirs, because the daughter did not give valid consideration in exchange for the land.
(D) The daughter’s heirs, because the daughter never effectively passed title to the land back to the mother.
Legal Rule and Analysis: (If you need to look at your outline to find the legal rule, feel free to use it when you have not yet memorized the subject. Using your outline will help you actively learn and memorize your outline!)
Look at the answer choices provided. Choose an answer choice that matches your conclusion. Review the other answer choices provided.
Answer to the Real Property MBE Question:
Common Mistake: Students have trouble memorizing the requirements of executing and delivering title to land.
Subject: Real Property
Legal Issue: At death, did the mother or daughter own the land?
Legal Rule and Analysis: In order to convey land, one needs to execute and deliver a deed. In this case, the mother conveyed the land to the daughter and delivered the deed. It does not matter that the daughter did not pay for the land (it is possible to receive land as a gift!). It also does not matter that the daughter did not record the deed or that the deed was a quitclaim deed. The daughter is still the owner of the land.
Then the daughter voluntarily destroyed the deed. However, this is not enough to return title. The daughter should have executed and delivered a deed back to the mother. The fact that the daughter did not do this means that the daughter still had title at her death.
Conclusion: The daughter’s heirs, because the daughter never passed title back to her mother.
Choose an answer choice that most closely matches your conclusion and explain why the others are incorrect: (D) is correct. (A) is incorrect because recording is not necessary to receive title. (It just protects the person from future purchasers claiming superior title!) (B) is incorrect because ripping up a deed does not constitute valid delivery of the deed. (C) is incorrect because it is immaterial that the daughter did not give consideration – one can still take title to property without giving consideration.
MBE Tip: Draw it out. People who jot things out statistically get higher scores than those who just underline. It is easy and it helps you keep track of the facts! Even here, just drawing something like, “M –> D (land)” can help you see right away exactly what happened, and that the daughter never effectively gave the land back to the mother (there is no D–>M following the M/D transaction!). This is especially helpful, however, in lengthy and convoluted mortgage problems. It can help you visualize the facts and see exactly what happened in significantly less time than if you try to remember everything from the fact pattern.
Key Takeaways for the day:
Takeaway for the Law: Destroying a deed is not enough to get rid of title or return it to the grantor. Instead, if a grantee wants to give land back to the grantor, they should execute and re-deliver a deed to the grantor.
MBE Tip: Draw it out. People who jot things out statistically get higher scores than those who just underline. It is easy and it helps you keep track of the facts! Try this next time you see a tricky Real Property question!
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