At first glance, a deed may appear to be a simple document requiring fill-in-the-blank information. Due to the legal nature of a recorded instrument, however, it is imperative that a Deed is free of error and that it conveys property in the manner desired.
Property can be conveyed with different ownership and with varying levels of legal protection depending on the language and form used. When deciding which type of deed is right for your situation, you should consider the current ownership of the real property and what level of protection you need.
The most common deeds used are:
- General Warranty Deed: a General Warranty Deed transfers title from the grantor with an assurance that the grantor holds title to the real property, has the ability to transfer title, and that the real property is free of encumbrances (i.e. liens or mortgages). This is the most common type of deed used in a transfer of real property for consideration and offers the greatest amount of protection. Note that we still recommend being proactive and obtaining a title search and title insurance when you buy property, to avoid having to rely on these assurances alone down the road!
- Quitclaim Deed: a Quitclaim Deed transfers grantor’s interest in the property to the grantee. Grantor is making no assurance regarding his/her ownership or any encumbrances. Quitclaim deeds are most often used when property is transferred for no consideration, i.e. to transfer property between family members or to solve any title issues or boundary disputes.
- Special Warranty Deed: a Special Warranty Deed, also referred to as a Limited Warranty Deed, transfers title from the grantor with an assurance that, since the grantor has owned the property, there have been no encumbrances that remain at the time of transfer. Grantor is making no assurance regarding title prior to his/her ownership.
Other types of deeds and conveyances that may be appropriate depending on circumstances include Personal Representative Deed, Transfer on Death Deed, Tax deed, Access easement, and Deed In-lieu of Foreclosure.
If an error is made but not noticed until the Deed has already been recorded, a corrective deed can be recorded which corrects the error but does not re-convey title.
An attorney can help you determine the appropriate deed form for your circumstances.