In a chain of title, the identity of the name of each grantor with a preceding grantee or owner is an essential element of good conveyancing and title examination practice.
However, in actual experience, an exact correspondence of names is not always encountered. When there is a discrepancy as to the correspondence of the grantee in one deed with the grantor in a succeeding deed due to a variation in the spelling of the name, the initials, or the use of the full name in one case and the initials or abbreviation only in another, a question of identity immediately arises. Whenever the names are identical, there is a legal presumption as to identity. But if there is any material variation in the names, the presumption of identity does not exist.
Presumption Of Identity
Presumptions of identity are constantly being applied throughout the examination of any chain of title. Practical conveniences require the identity of persons to be presumed from the identity of names, and consequently, a grantor in one conveyance is to be presumed the same as the grantee in a previous conveyance.
The presumptions of identity are generally authorized by or based on:
- Statutory inferences and presumptions.
- Curative statutes.
- Local title examination standards.
- Affidavits of record.
- Recitals contained in recorded documents.
- Doctrine of idem sonans. (Names spelled differently but pronounced alike or nearly alike are presumed to be the same.)
See also Fictitious Names (6.12.)