Do we need a property deed to transfer title of real estate to our child?

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Question:

Do we need a property deed to transfer title of real estate to our child?

Answer:

A property deed is the legal document which transfers property title from one party to another. The transfer is actually contained in a granting clause within the deed. There are various types of deeds to transfer property including warranty deed, a quitclaim deed, and a beneficiary deed.

Types of Deeds

  • Warranty Deed - A warranty deed is the common way to transfer the claim of property and warrants that the new deed holder has legal claim to the property. The warranty deed is an assurance that the transferring party does hold legal ownership in the property.
  • Quitclaim Deed - A quitclaim deed is transfers property to another owner without any claim regarding current ownership. A quitclaim deed transfers the interest a seller or grantor has in the property to the new owner; however, the quitclaim deed does not promise or make a warranty about the extent of the interest. Quit claim deeds are preferred where there are land title issues or disputes. Quitclaims are often used between parties who trust one another, as in family or friends. They can also be used in divorce distribution where one spouse gives up his or her interest in the property to the other.
  • Beneficiary Deed - A beneficiary deed conveys property upon the death of the owner. The instrument of transfer must be signed and recorded with the local recorder of deeds to be enforceable. The deed cannot transfer property or current interest prior to the owner's death.

Deed Requirements

A valid deed must contain the following information:

  • Grantor's (seller) name
  • Grantee's (buyer) name
  • Legal Description of property
  • Existing encumbrances (burdens to the property such as a lien)
  • Guarantees

A minor or someone who has been declared incompetent may not sign a deed.

In your case, the preferable way to transfer real property to your child is through a quitclaim deed. The deed must be notarized and filed with the land records office where the property is located.

If you have additional question regarding title deeds property, talk with an experienced estates attorney to discuss your case.

References:

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