refers to a legal arrangement whereby a thing (often money
, but sometimes other property
such as art
, deed of title
, or software source code
) is delivered to a third party (called an escrow agent) to be held in trust
pending a contigency or the fulfullment of a condition or conditions in a contract
. Upon that event occurring, the escrow agent will deliver the thing to the proper recipient, otherwise the escrow agent is bound by her or his fiduciary duty to maintain the escrow account.
Real estate agents are in some jurisdictions considered to act as escrow agents when they accept deposits for the purchase of real property.
Software source code escrow agents hold source code in escrow in the event that the creator of the source code refuses or is unable to release the source code to the user of specialised software if that software no longer functions or in certain other events.
The word "escrow" is derived from the Middle English word "escrowl", meaning "scroll".