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A deed is a written legal instrument that describes the rights and obligations of parties to it. A deed differs from a contract in that it requires no consideration to be effective and it retains its force until it is discharged by another deed, or by the requirements of the deed itself.

Deeds are required to set up a trust, to transfer real property (in many cases) and to allow securities to attach to land. Deeds must be kept in a solicitors or attorneys office until discharged. In the case of real estate, it usually must be filed with the local government (such as a county deed recorder) as a matter of public record.