By Susan M. Keenan ©2007
Property deeds are the legal documents that are used to transfer real estate property titles from one party to another. The property deed must be executed in the presence of a notary in order for it to be legal. Plus, it must be recorded at the County Recorder’s office. Once both of these steps are taken care of, the people who are named on the deed own the title to the property named on the deed. Each time the property is sold, a new deed must be executed in order for the transfer of ownership to take place.
Property deeds include specific pieces of information such as the description of the property, its location or property lines, the grantor, the grantee, the addresses of the parties involved in the transfer, and specific words of conveyance. The grantor is the seller and the grantee is the buyer. The words of conveyance express the transfer of the property.
Warranty and quit claim deeds are the most commonly used. A warranty deed is used when the grantor guarantees or warrants that he holds the property free and clear. With it, the grantor guarantees that he is the rightful owner and has the ability to transfer the title. A limited warranty deed is limited to the time that the grantor was the owner of the property. It warrants or guarantees the state of the title during that specific time only.
With a quit claim deed, the grantor is only guaranteeing that he is transferring the title to what he does own in regard to a specific property. Since no guarantee is offered that the property is free and clear, a bit of risk is attached to this type of deed. This type of deed is commonly used when the property is transferred as part of an estate inheritance, when the owner wants to remove a spouse from the deed, or when the property is transferred to a living trust.
Life estate deeds are used to transfer real estate property directly to a new owner who is referred to as the remainderman upon the previous owner’s death. Transfer on death deeds allow a property owner to designate a beneficiary who will receive ownership of the real estate property upon the current owner’s death.
Survivorship deeds, commonly used by married couples who purchase property together, pass the title or ownership of the property to the surviving partner. This type of deed allows the owners to avoid probate upon the first death only. Survivorship deeds should not be used when more than two people are involved.