Title Dept: What are the different types of deeds and what is the difference between them?
A deed is the document that transfers ownership of real estate It contains the names of the old and new owners and a legal description of the property, and is signed by the person transferring the property. In some situations, a document other than a deed is used -- for example, in a divorce, a court order may transfer real estate from the couple to just one of them. What's most important is the substance of the deed: the description of the property being transferred and the names of the old and new owners. Here's a brief rundown of the most common types of deeds:

  • A quitclaim deed transfers whatever ownership interest you have in the property. It makes no guarantees about the extent of your interest. Quitclaim deeds are commonly used by divorcing couples; one spouse signs all his rights in the couple's real estate over to the other. This can be especially useful if it isn't clear how much of an interest, if any, one spouse has in property that's held in another spouse's name.
  • A grant deed transfers your ownership and implies certain promises—that the title hasn't already been transferred to someone else or been encumbered, except as set out in the deed. This is the most commonly used kind of deed, in most states.
  • A warranty deed transfers your ownership and explicitly promises the buyer that you have good title to the property. It may make other promises as well, to address particular problems with the transaction.
  • A trust deed (also called a deed of trust) isn't like the other types of deeds; it's not used to transfer property. It's really just a version of a commonly used in some states (California, for example). A trust deed transfers title to land to a "trustee," usually a trust or title company, which holds the land as security for a loan. When the loan is paid off, title is transferred to the borrower. The trustee has no powers unless the borrower defaults on the loan; then the trustee can sell the property and pay the lender back from the proceeds, without first going to court.
  • A Beneficiary Deed is made specific by conveying title effective on the death of the owner, or last surviving owner creating an estate in expectancy.
    • Avoiding Probate with a Beneficiary Deed - Our lawmakers are giving taxpayers another break from expending considerable amounts of cash paying for probates, family trusts, life estates or any other form documents which will transfer assets to their children in a future time, effective on the death of the last surviving owner.
    • On August 9, 2001 the legislature of the state of Arizona enacted an amendment to Title 33, Chapter 4, Article 1 of the revised statutes, by adding Section 33-405 and amending sections 11-1134 and 42-15101, relating to conveyances and deeds. The law alleviates certain ambiguities regarding life estates and the rights or interest of the holder of the life estate and the owner of the remainder, when it comes to qualifying for a tax exemption offered to widows, veterans and senior citizens.
    • A beneficiary deed is made specific by conveying title effective on the death of the owner, or last surviving owner, thus creating an estate in expectancy which some time in the past was outlawed.
    • The grantee may be a multiple grantee or a successor grantee or both. A multiple grantee could acquire title as joint tenants with right of survivorship, as tenants in common or any other tenancy that is otherwise valid under the laws of the state of Arizona. A grant to a successor grantee shall state the condition on which the interest of the successor grantee would vest.
    • A beneficiary deed carries no warranties. It conveys an interest in real property including any debt secured by a lien on the property. It can also be revoked at any time by the owner, or in the event there are several owners, by any of the owners or by the last surviving owner. If the last surviving owner did not execute the beneficiary deed, the deed is invalid. Also in order to be valid it must be recorded as provided by law in the office of the Recorder of the county in which the property is located, before the death of the owner or the last surviving owner.
    • Because of the uniqueness of this type of conveyance it may not be necessary to insure a transfer made by a beneficiary deed, since actual title may be had in a future time, that is if it has not been revoked or transferred to another individual or entity.
    • In any event it seems that this type of transfer is ideal for simple estates. It avoids probate and does away with potential adversities of a joint tenancy with right of survivorship estate.

We recommend when deciding which deed works for your particular situation that you contact a lawyer or title company to assist you with the process. You will need to record any deed with the County Recorder’s office. Please contact the Recorder’s Office directly for any fees associated with recording these documents.

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52. Title Dept: How do I gain ownership of a property if both parties are deceased or not in Joint Tenancy or Community Property with Right of Survivorship?
53. Title Dept: Where do I get the deed forms to fill out?
54. Title Dept: What is a legal description?
55. Title Dept: What is an 'Affidavit of Property Value' form and when do I need to complete one of these forms?
56. Title Dept: What are the different types of deeds and what is the difference between them?
57. Title Dept: How can I find previous owners on a parcel?
58. Cartography: What is a Legal Description?
59. Cartography: Who is qualified to prepare an accurate legal description?
60. Cartography: What is a conveyance?
61. Cartography: Why doesn’t a Combination/Split form convey land?
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