Deeds 101

A deed is a legal document that transfers real estate or land from one person to another.

There are several types of deeds, including:

  • Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) – joint tenants means the people listed own the property together at the same time. Joint tenancy avoids probate when one person dies, since the property goes automatically to the surviving joint tenant.
  • Tenancy by the entirety (Missouri married couples only) – tenancy by the entirety is a type of joint tenancy that only Missouri allows for married couples.
  • Transfer on death (TOD) deeds (Kansas) – in Kansas, a transfer on death deed allows you to leave your house to a child or someone else. The deed only applies at your death, so you have to own the property when you die, and the recipient (child or whomever you choose) doesn’t own the property during your lifetime. A transfer on death deed is recorded before you die with the local county Register of Deeds office, and after your death, the recipient records your death certificate with the same office, and takes title to the property, all without any Probate Court involvement.
  • Beneficiary deeds (Missouri) – in Missouri, a beneficiary deed is very similar to a transfer on death deed in Kansas. A beneficiary deed allows you to leave your house to a child or someone else. The deed only applies at your death, so you have to own the property when you die, and the recipient (child or whomever you choose) doesn’t own the property during your lifetime. A beneficiary deed is recorded before you die with the local county Register of Deeds office, and after your death, the recipient records your death certificate with the same office, and takes title to the property, all without any Probate Court involvement.
  • Warranty deeds – a warranty deed can be done in Kansas or Missouri, and involves the seller promising the buyer to legally defend the buyer’s right to the property and to use/enjoy the property. A warranty deed usually contains 6 covenants of title and use/enjoyment. A warranty deed is the strongest legal guarantee you can get or give with real estate – if there’s any legal problem or question, the seller’s going to ensure the buyer gets the property.
  • Quit claim deeds – a quit claim deed can be done in Kansas or Missouri, and involves the seller giving the buyer whatever rights the seller has to the property. The seller’s saying “I may or may not have rights to this property, but whatever rights I have are yours now,” or a sort of legal washing of the hands. A quit claim deed doesn’t contain covenants of title and use/enjoyment. A quit claim deed is the weakest legal guarantee you can get or give with real estate – if there’s any legal problem or question, the buyer’s on their own to get the property and resolve any issues.
  • Trustee deeds – a deed to or from a trust, used when a trust owns a house or other real estate.

My law firmJohnson Law KC LLC, can help you prepare, file/record, or review deeds for your house or other real estate. We do deeds quickly and affordably to serve each client’s real estate needs. We have experience working on deeds and real estate throughout Kansas and Missouri, in the cities and rural areas. We also have experience working with realtors and reviewing real estate contracts, helping clients are real estate closings, and related legal services. Each trust our firm prepares comes with a free deed to move your house into the trust. Call (913.707.9220) or email us (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) to schedule a free, convenient consultation.

(c) 2015, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

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