A written document that must make it clear on its face that it is intended to be a deed and validly executed as a deed. Before 31 July 1990, all deeds required a seal in order to be validly executed, but this requirement was abolished by the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. A deed executed since that date by an individual requires only that it must be signed by its maker in the presence of a witness, or at the maker's direction and in the presence of two witnesses, and delivered. Deeds executed by companies require before delivery the signature of a director and secretary, or two directors, of the company; alternatively, if the company has a seal, the deed may be executed by affixing the company seal. If the deed is a contractual document, it is referred to as a specialty. A promise contained in a deed is called a covenant and is binding even if not supported by consideration. Covenants may be either express or implied. A deed normally takes effect on delivery; actual delivery constitutes handing it to the other party; constructive delivery involved (in strict theory) touching the seal with the finger, and saying words such as “I deliver this as my act and deed”. If a deed is delivered but is not to become operative until a future date or until some condition has been fulfilled, it is called an escrow. The recitals of a deed are those parts that merely declare facts and do not effect any of the substance of the transaction. They are usually inserted to explain the reason for the transaction. The operative part of a deed is the part that actually effects the objects of the deed, as by transferring land. The testatum (or witnessing part) constitutes the opening words of the operative part, i.e. “Now this deed witnesseth as follows”. The premises are the words in the operative part that describe the parties and the transaction involved. The parcels are the words in the premises that describe the property involved. The testimonium is the concluding part, beginning “In witness whereof”, and containing the signatures of the parties and witnesses. The locus sigilli is the position indicated for placing the seal. When a deed refers to itself as “these presents”, “presents” means present statements. The advantage of a deed over an ordinary contract is that the limitation period is 12 rather than 6 years (see limitation) and no consideration is required for the deed to be enforceable. See also deed poll.