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Four Corners

By: W. Paul Lewis, Title Counsel, Pinehurst & Wilmington

Every valid conveyance of real property must describe the real property being conveyed with enough certainty so there is no doubt as to its identity, otherwise, the conveyance may be void due to an indeterminable subject matter.  This required certainty can come from the deed itself or by referencing something outside the deed.   Although there are various ways to describe land in a conveyance, some means of description are safer than others to ensure a valid transfer.

One of the safer ways to describe land is by a metes and bounds description.  This appears in more rural areas as well as for raw land or land not subdivided with a publicly known plan of development.  A metes and bounds description uses monuments, courses and distances to define the boundary lines and the area within the boundary lines.  There are times when a metes and bounds description is ambiguous, inconsistent, conflicting or otherwise uncertain.   When the description is uncertain, we are guided by a set of rules of construction to determine if the description is sufficient so that the conveyance will not fail due to vagueness.

The overriding rule of construction when reviewing a description is to determine the intent of the parties to the deed by an examination of the entire document, or more fondly known as the four corners of the deed.


Best PracticeD - Our Best Practices Solution for Encryption of Email

Attorneys Title is working hard on compliance with ALTA's Best Practices and we know you are, too. In order to send and receive securely encrypted documents via email that are in compliance with the protection of valuable NPPI, we selected ShareFile by Citrix so that...


  • We can send encrypted documents.
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  • Access to files is available anytime, anywhere.
  • Recipients are not required to have a ShareFile account to access files.


If you haven't checked encryption off your to-do list yet, don't lose a deal - contact us and we will help. We can send our document, or even your document, via ShareFile.

*Interested in learning more information regarding ShareFile by Citrix? Visit their website,



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MyTitleLab is a personalized, unique title insurance resource designed by Attorneys for Attorneys and their staff.  MyTitleLab was designed from the beginning to be both flexible and intuitive.  Features include prior policy searching and rate calcuations too.  Visit MTLColorLogo.gif today or contact your local Attorneys Title office for a demo!

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Attorneys Title has been providing title insurance services to North Carolina real property attorneys for over thirty years.  We are long-standing supporters of the approved-attorney system and have continually provided  the best customer service in the industry.  With offices located throughout North Carolina and one of the most experienced legal teams in the business today, we are well-equipped to continue that proud tradition.  

We are agents for First American, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, and Chicago Title Insurance Company. We have chosen to work only with those underwriters who have proved to have the financial strength you and your clients need in this economic environment. We maintain a library of over one million prior polices from First American, Commonwealth, Fidelity and Chicago Title and we are easily your best source and choice for information. 

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