What Should I Know about Property Deeds? – Annapolis and Towson Estate Planning

Property deeds can be classified into several categories. Investopedia’s recent article entitled “Understanding Property Deeds” explains that a property deed is a written and signed legal instrument that is used to transfer ownership of real property from the then-owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee).

Every state has its own requirements, but most deeds are required to have some essential elements to be legally valid:

  • It must be in writing.
  • The grantor must have the legal capacity to transfer the property and the grantee must be capable of receiving the grant of the property. Typically, one who is competent to make a valid contract is considered competent to be a grantor.
  • The grantor and grantee must be specifically identified.
  • The property must be described sufficiently.
  • There must be operative words of conveyance.
  • The deed must be signed by the grantor(s).
  • The deed must be legally delivered to the grantee or to someone acting on her behalf.
  • The deed must be accepted by the grantee.

Deeds are also categorized based on the type of title warranties provided by the grantor. The different types of deeds include the following:

General Warranty Deed. This deed offers the grantee the most protection. Here, the grantor makes a series of legally binding promises (covenants) and warranties to the grantee (and their heirs) agreeing to protect the grantee against any prior claims and demands of all persons as to the conveyed land. These are the usual covenants for title included in a general warranty deed:

  • the covenant of seisin, which means the grantor warrants that she owns the property and has the legal right to convey it;
  • the covenant against encumbrances and that the grantor warrants the property is free of liens or encumbrances, except as specifically stated in the deed;
  • the covenant of quiet enjoyment and that this won’t be disturbed, because the grantor had a defective title; and
  • the covenant of further assurance, where the grantor promises to deliver any document necessary to make the title good.

Special Warranty Deed. The grantor promises to warrant and defend the title conveyed against the claims, and it warrants that he or she received the title and hasn’t done anything while holding the title to create a defect. Thus, only defects that occurred in the grantor’s ownership of the property are warranted.

Quitclaim Deed. Also known as a non-warranty deed, this deed offers the grantee the least amount of protection. It conveys whatever interest the grantor currently has in the property, if any. There are no warranties or promises regarding the quality of the title.

Special Purpose Deeds. This deed is often used with court proceedings and situations, where the deed is from a person acting in some type of official capacity. These deeds offer little or no protection to the grantee and are essentially quitclaim deeds. The types of special purpose deeds include, for example, an Administrator’s Deed, an Executor’s Deed, a Sheriff’s Deed, a Tax Deed, a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, and a Deed of Gift (Gift Deed).

Certain essential elements must be contained within the deed for it to be legally operative. Ask your estate planning attorney about these different types of deeds.

Reference: Investopedia (March 27, 2019) “Understanding Property Deeds”

Sims & Campbell, LLC – Annapolis and Towson Estate Planning Attorneys

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims

410-828-7775

Contact: Frank Campbell

410-263-1667

Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.