Deeds are legal instruments that facilitate the transfer of ownership of property from one individual to another. The transfer of title through a deed grants the new owner the right to utilize the property as their own. The document itself, the deed, serves as the official proof of the transfer of ownership. A properly executed deed is legally defensible, but certain criteria must be met. These include a declaration of the deed’s nature, typically through the phrase “this deed,” a detailed description of the property in question, and clear language indicating the grantor’s intent to transfer title to the grantee.
There are three main types of deeds involving property:
General Warranty Deed
General warranty deeds are widely used and provide the highest level of protection and guarantees for property buyers. These deeds are accompanied by a binding promise, known as a warranty, wherein the seller assures that they hold a clear title to the property and have the legal authority to sell it. What sets general warranty deeds apart is their unique feature of providing title guarantees not only for the duration of the seller’s ownership but also for the entire history of the property, including its origin.
In standard real estate transactions, general warranty deeds are the norm, particularly when buyers are seeking financing. In certain situations, it may be possible to prepare a general warranty deed without professional legal assistance.
Special Warranty Deed
A special warranty deed offers a narrower scope of protection compared to a general warranty deed, yet it assures the purchaser of a clear title for the duration of the grantor’s ownership of the property.
In instances where a special warranty deed is utilized, the seller or grantor may lack knowledge about the property’s prior history before they acquired it, rendering them unable to assure the absence of any title defects. However, they do provide a guarantee of a defect-free title for the duration of their ownership of the property.
A quitclaim deed serves a singular function of seamlessly transferring a grantor’s ownership interest in a property to another party, without offering any protective measures. It does not contain any warranties or guarantees, and the grantor assumes no liability for any potential defects. Furthermore, a quitclaim deed does not guarantee the authenticity of the transferring party’s ownership of the property.
Quitclaim deeds are typically employed to facilitate the transfer of property between family members. In instances of divorce, for example, ex-spouses may employ a quitclaim deed to remove one party’s name and interest from the property title.
What Do I Need to Properly Execute a Deed?
The act of executing a deed involves the fulfillment of all necessary preconditions prior to
affixing signatures. The signing requirements for deeds may differ from state to state but as a general rule, real estate deeds necessitate the following elements for legal validity:
Signature of the grantor
Acknowledgement by a notary public
How Do I Add or Remove a Name on a Deed?
The transfer of title ownership requires an amendment of the deed. This process remains consistent whether you are selling a property to a new owner or seeking to include your spouse in the title ownership.
In the instance where an individual holds the sole title to a property and wishes to add their partner to the title, the grantor must execute a new deed. This document will transfer the title from the grantor to the grantor and the new co-owner.
However, the removal of a name from the title cannot occur without mutual agreement or a court order. In cases where both parties agree to transfer ownership to one individual, a quitclaim is a commonly utilized document. This document will release one party’s interest in the property.
In situations where an individual signs a deed as an executor, heir, beneficiary or any other role, the signer must indicate their name and their position in the transaction. For example: Jane Doe, Executrix to the Estate of John Doe under Trust Agreement dated April 1, 2021.
In contrast, when signing a deed as an individual, the signer must only sign their name.