At The Orlando Law Group, many times, we focus in on the questions we most frequently encounter. Much of what we do is intricate, such as the transferring of property through the use of a deed. In the world of Real Estate Law, many words like deed, title, and mortgage get used without an understanding of their distinctions. In this blog, we will offer you insight into the different ways we utilize deeds to transfer properties and address some confusions on what a deed is and what it can and cannot do.
What does a Deed specifically do?
In common law, a deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms, or confirms an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions, sealed. As you may expect, what sounds like a simple transference can become overtly complicated. You may need the property to transfer in a specific way. That is why there are different types of deeds that can accomplish a variety of objectives.
What is the Difference Between a Deed and Title?
A deed is a physical document that conveys ownership of a property, while a title refers to the concept of ownership rights. One illustration people use to understand this concept is the idea of owning a book. You can own a physical copy of a book, but you cannot own a physical copy of the title. The title is a concept, whereas the book is something physical. In this way, a deed is a physical item that you must have after you purchase property.
Why are there multiple types?
The different types of deeds exist to account for what the grantor can convey, what the grantor wants to convey, and what warranties the grantor wants to be encompassed within. The four types of deeds we see most often are the general warranty deed, the special warranty deed, the quitclaim deed, and the ladybird deed. Each of these deeds have a diverse range of conveyance, and depending on your objectives, you will want to narrow it down to the one that matches your goals.
What is a General Warranty Deed?
This is most likely the type you are looking for. It gives the most protection to the buyer, as well as guarantees that the property is owned outright by the seller. Although the exact specification can change depending on the state, the general warranty deed promises that the grantor has a legal right to sell the property, alongside the fact that the property is free of any liens, debts, or encumbrances.
What is a Special Warranty Deed?
A special warranty deed does not provide as much protection as the general warranty deed does. In this situation, the grantor of the deed conveys the property as well as two warranties, or assurances. The first warranty promises that the grantor holds title to the property, and the other assures that the property was not encumbered during the grantor’s time of ownership.
It is very important to note that this type does not guarantee that the property was unencumbered before the grantor took ownership. It makes sense that these are commonly used when the seller does not know what transpired before they took ownership of the property and are mostly encountered when a trust or estate is transferring property. You can also find it is common to have special warranty deeds when working with commercial properties.
What is the Quitclaim Deed?
With the quitclaim deed, the least amount of protection is afforded for the buyer. With limited uses, this deed transfers any interests the grantor may have in the property. For example, if your friend used a quitclaim deed to transfer their property to you, this deed would essentially say that “If I own this property, it is yours.” The grantor quits their right and claim to the property. It is also important to note that this type does not allow for any insurances in terms of liens and encumbrances. It is very often used in divorce because in that situation, both parties have a mutual understanding of the property’s history.
What is the Ladybird Deed?
The Ladybird Deed is used to pass property automatically to one or more recipients at death without the need for Florida probate. Many times, a Lady Bird Deed is also called an Enhanced Life Estate Deed. An important aspect of The Ladybird Deed is that the grantor reserves the right to sell, use, and manage the property during the grantor’s lifetime.
For a normal life estate deed, a five-year waiting period for Medicaid benefits would begin. One of the benefits of using a Lady Bird Deed is that this waiting period can be circumvented since the deed is not considered a transfer of ownership as a gift. One aspect to be careful of is the fact that some lenders will not let you refinance a property that has an enhanced life estate deed. That’s why it’s a good idea to check with us before you utilize one.
Does a Mortgage Convey Title?
This is a point of confusion that we often see. A mortgage does not convey title. For that, you will need a deed. The reason we like to make the distinction is because many times, individuals might think that a mortgage does convey title, but it does not. A mortgage is a loan on the property itself, and it is the deed that will convey title and ownership of the property. They are separate entities with interlocking components, and believe it or not, there are absolutely different types of mortgages. The best way to look at it: a mortgage is not a deed and a deed is not a mortgage.
Using the Right One
The ultimate point is this – each deed has its own specific uses, and picking the right one can have benefits for you in the long run. Therefore, you need to work with attorneys who have experience with their various uses, as well as how to make them work to your advantage. If you need a transference of your deed, make sure to give us a call and we’ll help you pick the one that best serves your goals, whether that is a general, special, quitclaim, or ladybird deed. Each is a tool for a certain time, objective, and purpose. Reach out to us, and The Orlando Law Group would be happy to help you pick the deed that best fits your need.