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Instrument, such as a deed, money, or property, that constitutes evidence of obligations between two or more parties and is held by a third party. It is delivered by the third party only upon fulfillment of some condition. In commercial usage, this condition is most often the performance of an act (e.g., payment) by the party who is to receive the instrument. Escrow is also used in family transactions (e.g., when a death in the family results in an instrument being delivered to another family member).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on escrow, visit Britannica.com.