Deed Forms for Property Transfer

In real estate, deed forms are essential when selling a property or transferring it under a new name. This document ensures the legality of the transaction between the former owner and the new owner,  securing the grantee’s right to the property.

What Are Deeds?

Simply put, a deed is a legal form used when selling a property or listing it under another name (e.g., transferring the land title from a parent to a child of legal age). It contains a detailed description of the property and all the required signatures, including that of the grantor, the grantee, and the witnesses. Once notarized and filed, the deed will serve as proof of ownership along with the land title.

Here are some essential terms you will encounter:

  • Grantor — The grantor is the old property owner who holds the previous land title under their name. During the real estate transfer, the grantor shows a willingness to sell or give the property to someone else.
  • Grantee — The grantee is either the buyer or the heir receiving the property from the grantor.
  • Deed — The deed will serve as evidence of the legal transfer from the grantor to the grantee and protect the latter from any false claims to the property. It is a physical document that must be filed to your local government office.
  • Deed Form — A deed form is a template that either the grantor, the grantee, or their agent can use to ensure a swift transaction. You may download Formspal’s free lawyer-reviewed deed form template on this site.
  • Land Title — Unlike the deed, the land title is not a legal document but ownership of the property itself. The title is a concept but determines who has the power to use or transfer the property.

Deed Types

In the United States, a few deed types are available to make transfers easier and appropriate for the situation. Depending on your needs, you may want to look into the following deed types:

General Warranty Deed

This deed lists the past owners and includes the latest grantee as the current owner, enabling it to offer the new owner the highest protection. Also called a “statutory warranty deed,” it is usually used when a purchase is made, so the corresponding purchase price is also listed.

Quitclaim Deed

In contrast to the General Warranty Deed, the Quitclaim Deed is used when there are no financial transactions involved. Instead, it is the go-to template for transfers from grantors to their heirs or other cases like business property transfers, litigations, or divorce.

Transfer-on-Death Deed

This type of deed can only come into effect upon your death, so while you are still living, you have the power to revoke it. Typically, this would contain a list of your heirs, who would then be able to avoid a tiring court process or unnecessary additional taxes.

Lady Bird Deed

Like the Transfer-on-Death deed, the Lady Bird Deed will automatically be transferred to the heir or beneficiary upon the grantor’s death. It also comes with the same benefits: being safe from “estate recovery,” where the government takes a portion after selling your home to pay for remaining taxes, care facility fees, etc. While it seems advantageous, this type of deed is not available in all states.

Trust Deed

A trust deed is issued when the grantor wants to pay for their debts using their own property. While this is entirely voluntary, it is important to note that several responsibilities are attached to this type of deed, including strict payment schedules and disclosure of financial statements.

Gift Deed

This type of deed is used for donations from grantors to institutions to complete the transfer and grant an institution or individual the ownership of the property. The deed will still contain any wishes by the grantor, including specific instructions or property access.

Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure

In cases where a grantor can no longer pay for the mortgage, they may voluntarily turn over the property to the lending institution or bank. This would allow them to avoid foreclosure and other consequences that come with it. Usually, as a last resort, this “return” will need a specific type of deed called “Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure.”

Other Deeds:

  • Special Warranty Deed — This deed will warrant ownership against the grantor’s action or inaction, but not of others’ actions.
  • Correction Deed — This document is used when making corrections to an erroneous deed.
  • Fiduciary Deed — Similar to a Quitclaim deed, this form is used by a grantor to claim that they are acting with their own authority when including a new trustee or executor.
  • Sheriff’s Deed— This is a type of court order deed that does not need the grantor’s permission to take the property due to foreclosure.
  • Bargain and Sale Deed — For purposes of transparency, this deed discloses that the seller or agent is not entirely in control of the foreclosed property being sold in terms of its title.
  • Grant Deed — This form transfers any existing interest from the grantor to the grantee and ensures that the property is not attached to any debt.
  • Security Deed— This type ensures “absolute title” and removes the interest from the grantor.
  • Tax Deed— This deed transfers the property to the government when the owner fails to pay taxes.
  • Executor’s Deed — This deed pertains to a sale or transfer conducted by the owner’s executor or legal representative.
  • Administrator’s Deed — This is a deed that allows the transfer to happen after the owner passes away without a will or deed.
  • Deed of Release— Finally, a Deed of Release allows the previous owner to grant the new owner absolute title once the mortgage is paid in full.

Signing and Recording

Once you have chosen the best deed type that fits your needs, you’ll need to undergo a signing and recording process, which varies from state to state. For your convenience, the different requirements are listed below:

State Signing Recorder Laws
Alabama Notary Public or 2 Witnesses Office of the County Probate Judge in the property’s jurisdiction Alabama code Title 35, Chapter 4
Alaska Notary Public One of the Recording Districts, depending on the property’s jurisdiction
https://simplifile.com/
Alaska Statutes Title 34, Chapter 15
Arizona Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Arizona Statutes Title 33, Chapter 4
Arkansas Notary Public and 2 Witnesses Circuit Court in the property’s jurisdiction Arkansas Code Title 18, Chapter 12
California Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction California Civil Code 1091-1134
Colorado Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Colorado Statutes Title 38
Connecticut Notary Public and 2 Witnesses (a notary public may account as 1 of the witnesses) City/Town Recording Office in the property’s jurisdiction Connecticut General Assembly Chapter 821
Delaware Notary Public Kent County, New Castle County, or Sussex County, depending on the property’s jurisdiction Delaware Code Title 25 Chapter 1
Florida Notary Public and 2 Witnesses Clerk of the Circuit Court in the property’s jurisdiction Florida Statutes Title XL Chapter 689
Georgia Notary Public and 2 Witnesses (a notary public may account as 1 of the witnesses) Clerk of the Superior Court in the property’s jurisdiction Georgia Code Title 44 Chapter 5 Article 2
Hawaii Notary Public Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances
https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/boc/e-recording/
Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 13 Chapter 16
Idaho Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Idaho Statutes Title 55 Chapter 6
Illinois Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction 765 ILCS 5
Indiana Notary Public or Other Public Officers Authorized under § 2-3-4-1 County Recording Office in the property’s jurisdiction Indiana Code Title 32
Iowa Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Iowa Code Chapter 558
Kansas Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Kansas Statutes Chapter 58 Article 22
Kentucky Notary Public or 2 Witnesses County Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 382
Louisiana Notary Public and 2 Witnesses Clerk of Court’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Louisiana CC 1839
Maine Notary Public or Officer of the Court Registry of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction Maine Revised Statutes Title 36 Chapter 711-A
Maryland Notary Public or Officer of the Court Clerk at the Circuit Court in the property’s jurisdiction Maryland Code Real Property Title 2 (2-101 – 2-123)
Massachusetts Notary Public  Registry of Deeds Office in the property’s jurisdiction Massachusetts Laws Chapter 183
Michigan Notary Public Registry of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction Michigan Legislature Chapter 565
Minnesota Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction
http://www.mnererc.com/
Minnesota Statutes Chapter 507
Mississippi Notary Public Clerk of the Chancery Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Mississippi Code Title 89 Chapter 1
Missouri Notary Public County Recorder of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction Missouri Statutes Title XXIX
Montana Notary Public County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Montana Code Title 70 Chapter 20 and 21
Nebraska Notary Public Register of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 76
Nevada Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction NRS 111.105-111.235, 111.310-111.3655
New Hampshire Notary Public County Registry of Deeds Office in the property’s jurisdiction New Hampshire Revised Statutes Title XLVIII Chapter 477
New Jersey Notary Public County Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction New Jersey Revised Statutes 46:7-2
New Mexico Notary Public County Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction New Mexico Statutes Chapter 47 Article 1
New York Notary Public County Court Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction
https://iappscontent.courts.state.ny.us/NYSCEF/live/edds.htm
New York Laws Real Property Article 8
North Carolina Notary Public Register of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction
https://www.ncard.us/erecording-counties/
North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 47B
North Dakota Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction North Dakota Code Chapter 47-10
Ohio Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction
https://www.ohiorecorders.com/
Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5302
Oklahoma Notary Public County Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Oklahoma Statutes Title 16
Oregon Notary Public Recorder’s Office in the County in the property’s jurisdiction Oregon Statutes Chapter 93
Pennsylvania Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Pennsylvania Statutes Title 21 Chapter 1
Rhode Island Notary Public City/Town of the property’s jurisdiction Rhode Island Laws 34-11
South Carolina Notary Public and 2 Witnesses (a notary public may account as 1 of the witnesses) County Recorders of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction South Carolina Code Title 30 Chapter 5
South Dakota Notary Public or 1 Witness County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction South Dakota Laws Chapter 43-25
Tennessee Notary Public or 2 Witnesses County Registers Office in the property’s jurisdiction Tennessee Code Title 66 Chapter 5 Part 1
Texas Notary Public Register of Deeds in the County Clerk’s Office Texas Property Code Title 2 Chapter 5
Utah Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Utah Code Title 57 Chapter 1 and 3
Vermont Notary Public County Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Vermont Statutes Title 27 Chapter 5
Virginia Notary Public or 2 Witnesses Clerk of the Circuit Court in the property’s jurisdiction Virginia Code Title 55.1 Subtitle 1
Washington Notary Public County Recorder’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction Chapter 64.04 RCW
Washington D.C. Notary Public or Certified Official of the Court Recorder of Deeds office in the property’s jurisdiction Code of D.C. Title 42 Chapter 6
West Virginia Notary Public or 2 Witnesses County Court Clerk’s Office in the property’s jurisdiction West Virginia Code Chapter 36
Wisconsin Notary Public County Register of Deeds in the property’s jurisdiction Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 706
Wyoming Notary Public Recorder’s Office (usually the same as the County Clerk’s Office in most districts) Wyoming Statutes Title 34

Deed vs. Title

Though the terms “Deed” and “Title” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are entirely different from each other, as explained in the first part of this article. To further understand the differences between them, these terms are compared and contrasted below:

Similarities:

  • Both pertain to one’s ownership of a real estate property.
  • Both serve as proof of your right to access the property.

Differences:

  • A deed is a legal document, while a title is a “concept.”
  • You “sign” a deed to “take title” of a property.
  • Deeds can have several types, unlike a title.
  • You cannot use a title to sell or transfer a property.

What a Property Deed Usually Contains

While a deed comes in several types for different purposes, these generally contain the following:

  • A detailed overview and description of the property

This would include the official address of the property and its lot size. If there are any major improvements to be made, this must be included as well.

  • Names of both the grantor and the grantee

The names of the parties involved should appear on the document. Typically, these are the grantor (seller or previous owner) and the grantee (buyer or new owner). Depending on the type of deed, the grantor may also be a donor, an executor, or an agent. At the same time, the grantee may be an heir, a beneficiary of a donation, a lending company, or even the government.

  • Price

If the property is being sold, the total amount of the property should be reflected on the deed.

  • Signatures

Lastly, all parties must sign the document on the last page along with their witnesses. This ensures the legality and enforceability of the deed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about property deeds? We’ve answered some common questions below to assist you further when it comes to “all things deeds”:

What are deed restrictions?

More often than not, using a deed comes with certain restrictions. This includes limits on property use or any changes to its facade to comply with the area’s guidelines, such as the case in subdivisions where the community’s “character” or ambiance must be preserved. Typically, deed restrictions last up to 25 to 30 years, while others can stay as long as the property’s lifespan (also called perpetual ownership).


Can a deed be signed electronically?

Thanks to the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA), yes. While it is best to sign the deed in person, electronic signatures are still allowed, provided that other supporting documents “logically” match the deed’s contents. There is also no need for a stamp or seal to accompany the electronic signature. However, it is best to check your state’s laws regarding the use of electronic signatures because, though this may be the norm in some areas, others may still require you to sign legal papers using the traditional way.


Can I revoke a deed of donation?

Yes, you may revoke a deed of donation in special cases. In the past, properties have been restored to the original owner due to gross ingratitude or mutual revocation.  Take note, though, that sentiments may not be enough to revoke a donation.


How to add a name to a deed?

In most cases, a deed cannot be changed once it has been filed. Therefore, the best course of action would be to create a new deed when adding the name of the spouse, partner, or child. The same goes when removing names.



Real estate properties play an enormous part in people’s lives, mainly because of their value. It is therefore vital to use legally-reviewed deed forms when selling or transferring your home or land. Identifying the best deed type for you is the first step, followed by knowing the requirements and the basic contents of the document. Once the template is filled out, you may now file it and check if it has been added to your state’s registry of deeds.

Published: Apr 19, 2021