A deed is the title to property and provides legal ownership. It transfers ownership of property from one party to another. The old owner is called the grantor and the new owner is the grantee. Deeds may be private or official. Private deeds are the most common and occur between individuals or businesses. Official deeds are those that the court orders. All deeds must contain some particular elements in order to be legal.
Deeds must be in writing and must indicate both the grantor and grantee. The deed must contain a description of the property. To transfer a deed, both parties must have the legal capability to convey the property. There are a variety of different types of property deeds, so it is helpful to understand their differences and uses.
General Warranty Deed
General warranty deeds are the most common type of deed used in property transfers. This type of property deed provides protections that ensure the proper execution of property transfers and protects grantees. It includes provisions, called covenants, that are legally binding. The covenant of seisin ensures that the grantor has the legal right to transfer the property. The covenant against encumbrances provides that there are no liens against the property that could prevent transfer. The covenant of quiet enjoyment provides that the grantee shall not be disturbed due to a defective title. The covenant of further assurance means that the grantee will provide any further documentation necessary to make the title good.
Special Warranty Deed
A special warranty deed is also sometimes called a limited warranty deed. With this type of deed, the grantor warrants only against any defects that occurred while he was the owner. The special warranty deed offers less protection than the general warranty deed. In other words, this deed is less inclusive, and if there are defects that occurred prior to the grantor taking possession of the property, they are not covered.
A quit claim deed is also known as a non-warranty deed because it provides no warranty. It offers the grantee the lowest level of protection. This type of deed may be used in a situation where the grantor does not know the status of the title and does not know if any defects exist. It can also be used when the grantor does not want to be held responsible for any defects. Quit claim deeds are generally not utilized in typical real estate transactions. However, they are more commonly used in circumstances where the grantor needs to provide a quick title. If the grantee finds that the title has defects, he has no legal recourse to resolve the matter with the grantee.
Other types of deeds may be used in special legal circumstances. Typically, specialty deeds are used on behalf of someone and they therefore do not provide significant protections to the grantee. Some of the types of specialty deeds include:
- Administrator’s Deed
- Sheriff’s Deed
- Executor’s Deed
- Tax Deed
- Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
- Gift Deed
These types of deeds are designed to provide legal property transfer to the appropriate party, typically designated due to a court action. A deed is required to legally transfer property to a grantee. Deeds are essential legal documents, so it is helpful to seek guidance from an experienced attorney before you transfer property. To learn more about property deeds and to get legal assistance, contact our experienced legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. by phone at (608) 784-8310 or online.