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Deed Forms

deed is a form used for transferring ownership of a property from a seller (grantor) to a buyer (grantee). Once completed, the deed must be recorded with the local county recorder.

By State


By Type (6)

Deed of Trust – An alternative to a mortgage, a deed of trust is an agreement formed between a home buyer, a financial institution, and a neutral trustee. With this contract, the trustee holds on to the title of the property until the borrower has paid the loan back.

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General Warranty Deed – Provides the most security to the grantee out of all of the deed types. Guarantees that 1) the property has not been sold to any third party; 2) the grantor is the true and rightful owner, and; 3) the title is free of any defects and encumbrances.

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Lady Bird Deed – Used for conveying property after one passes away. Offered in 29 states.

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Quit Claim Deed – These deeds are quicker to complete as it involves less details, but it offers no protection for the grantee with regard to the quality of the title and assurances of ownership.

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Special Warranty Deed – Similar to a general warranty deed but only provides assurances for the time the seller owned the property (i.e., does not cover any previous owners).

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Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) – Used for transferring property outside of probate after the owner dies. The person conveying the property retains full ownership rights while they are still alive.

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Contents


What is a Deed?

deed is a legal document used for transferring legal title to a property. It includes two (2) parties: the grantor (owner/seller) and the grantee (recipient/buyer). By completing and signing a deed, the grantor effectively releases any interest they have in the property.

Deeds that offer little guarantees to the recipient (such as a quit claim deed) can involve more risk to the buyer as there is no affirmation from the seller that they’re the true owner (or that there aren’t other owners of the property). For transfers to one’s kin or descendants, a quit claim deed can be beneficial due to the relative ease with which it can be put into effect. Higher value transactions, on the other hand, benefit from using deeds with guarantees to the quality of the title, such as general or special warranty deeds.

Signing Requirements

The table below contains the signing requirements for deeds in all fifty (50) states. It’s important to note that Notaries Public and witnesses only need to verify the signature of the grantor (seller).

STATE SIGNING REQUIREMENTS STATUTE
Alabama 2 Witnesses OR Notarization § 35-4-20
Alaska Notarization § 34-15-150
Arizona Notarization § 33-401
Arkansas 2 Witnesses AND Notarization § 16-47-106
California Notarization § 27287
Colorado Notarization § 38-35-103
Connecticut 2 Witnesses AND Notarization § 47-5
Delaware Notarization § 122
Florida 2 Witnesses AND Notarization § 695.26
Georgia 1 Witness AND Notarization §§ 44-5-15 & 44-5-30
Hawaii Notarization § 502-41
Idaho Notarization § 55-805
Illinois Notarization § 765 ILCS 5/20
Indiana Notarization § 32-21-2-3
Iowa Notarization § 558.31
Kansas Notarization § 55-2205
Kentucky 2 Witnesses OR Notarization § 382.130
Louisiana 2 Witnesses AND Notarization § 1839
Maine Notarization § 203
Maryland Notarization § 3-104
Massachusetts Notarization § 183-29
Michigan Notarization § 565.201
Minnesota Notarization § 507.24
Mississippi Notarization § 89-3-7
Missouri Notarization § 442.150
Montana Notarization § 70-21-203
Nebraska Notarization § 76-211
Nevada Notarization § 111.105
New Hampshire Notarization § 477:3
New Jersey Notarization § 46:4-1
New Mexico Notarization § 47-1-44
New York Notarization § 306
North Carolina Notarization § 47-38
North Dakota Notarization § 47-19-03
Ohio Notarization § 5301.01(a)
Oklahoma Notarization 16 § 26
Oregon Notarization § 93.410
Pennsylvania Notarization 21 § 42
Rhode Island Notarization § 34-11-1.1
South Carolina 2 Witnesses AND Notarization (Notary can act as 1 witness) § 30-5-30
South Dakota 1 Witness OR Notarization § 43-25-26
Tennessee 2 Witnesses OR Notarization § 66-5-106
Texas 2 Witnesses OR Notarization § 12.001
Utah Notarization § 57-3-101
Vermont Notarization § 301
Virginia 2 Witnesses OR Notarization § 55.1-600
Washington Notarization § 64.04.020
West Virginia 2 Witnesses OR Notarization § 39-1-2
Wisconsin Notarization § 706.06
Wyoming Notarization § 34-1-113

Where to Record a Deed

After signing the deed in accordance with state requirements, the grantor(s) will need to bring the deed in person to the county recorder in the same county or district in which the property is located.

STATE COUNTY RECORDERS
Alabama County Judge of Probate’s Office
Alaska District Recorder’s Office
Arizona County Recorder’s Office
Arkansas Circuit Clerk
California County Registrars and Recorder’s Office
Colorado County Recorder’s Office
Connecticut County Clerk’s Office
Delaware Recorder of Deed’s Office (Kent | New Castle | Sussex)
Florida County Clerk’s Office
Georgia Superior Court Clerk’s Office
Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances
Idaho County Recorder’s Office (List of Counties)
Illinois County Clerk & Recorder’s Office
Indiana County Recorder’s Office (List of Counties)
Iowa County Recorder’s Office
Kansas Kansas Register of Deeds
Kentucky County Clerk’s Office
Louisiana Clerk of Court’s Office
Maine County Registry of Deeds
Maryland Land Records Office (in County Circuit Court)
Massachusetts County Registry of Deeds Office
Michigan County Register of Deeds Office
Minnesota County Recorder’s Office
Mississippi County Chancery Clerk’s Office
Missouri County Recorder of Deeds’ Office
Montana County Clerk & Recorder’s Office (List of Counties)
Nebraska County Register of Deeds Office (List of Counties)
Nevada County Recorder’s Office
New Hampshire County Registry of Deed’s Office (List of Counties)
New Jersey County Clerk’s Office
New Mexico County Clerk’s Office
New York County Clerk’s Office
North Carolina County Register of Deeds Office
North Dakota County Recorder’s Office
Ohio County Recorder’s Office
Oklahoma County Clerk’s Office
Oregon County Recorder’s Office (List of Counties)
Pennsylvania County Recorder of Deeds Office
Rhode Island Recorded in City/Town (List of Cities & Towns)
South Carolina County Registers of Deeds
South Dakota County Register of Deeds Office
Tennessee County Register of Deeds
Texas County Clerk’s Office
Utah County Recorder’s Office (List of Counties)
Vermont Town/County Clerk’s Office
Virginia County Circuit Court Clerk
Washington County Recorder’s Office (List of County Courts)
West Virginia County Clerk’s Office
Wisconsin County Register of Deed’s Office
Wyoming County Clerk’s Office

Terms to Know

  • Acknowledgement – The act of verifying the identity of the signer (the grantor) and acknowledging their signatures on the document. Every state either requires notarization or permits it as a method of authenticating a deed.
  • Encumbrance – A claim against a property from someone that is not an owner. Types of encumbrances include:
    • CC&Rs (Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions) – Also known as “deed restrictions,” these restrict the usage, appearance, and/or maintenance of the property. For example, a home association may ban RVs from parking in the driveway.
    • Easements – Provides a third party with the right to use the land, such as a right-of-way or a utility line.
    • Encroachment – Occurs when an object (such as a building) extends into the property. Examples include trees, shrubbery, fences, or sheds and other outbuildings.
    • Liens – A lien is a 3rd party claim to the property. The property acts as collateral and can be claimed should the debtor default on the payment/agreement.
  • Conveyance – Transfer/assignment of interest (ownership) in property from a person or entity to another.
  • Grantor – This is the person (or entity) that is transferring property to the Grantee.
  • Grantee – The new owner of the property (whether by purchase or gift).
  • Witness – A third party that witnesses one (1) or more parties sign a document in person or via electronic means (if permitted).
    • Disinterested witness – A disinterested witness is a person that does not benefit or have any stake in the transaction; they should not be someone that has a personal relationship with the grantor, including family members, employees, and employers.
    • Subscribing witness – A subscribing witness is a person that observed the grantor sign the deed in person.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a deed and a title?

deed is a physical document used for transferring ownership in property from one party to another. In other words, the deed transfers the title to the new owner.

title is a term/concept used to describe a person’s right to own and use a specific piece of real estate. There is no physical title held by the owner.