The Deed is a document that transfers title in real estate. In the sale of a piece of property, the seller is the "grantor" and the buyer is the "grantee". There are 6 statutory forms for deeds in Ohio.
- General Warranty Deed
- Limited Warranty Deed
- Quit Claim Deed
- Survivorship Tenancy
- Transfer on Death Deed
- Executor or Trustee Deed
The General Warranty Deed is used when the grantor will provide to the buyer warrantee promises that the grantor lawfully owns the property to be transferred, that the property is free from all encumbrances; that the grantor has good right to sell and convey the property, and that the grantor does warrant and will defend these statements of ownership forever, against the lawful claims and demands of any person.
So, a general warranty can be a pretty tall order. They are the most desireable deed to have since you should get the protection of prior owners if there are any questions raised about your ownership of property. This can mean that there has been some error or problem in the past which has caused some questions about who actually owns property. If such title errors come up, past owners who transferred property with a general warranty deed can be called upon to defend against people who make a claim of ownership on property.
A limited warranty deed does the same thing, except the grantor only warrants against his or her own encumbrances, and not all encumbrances. A grantor transferring with a limited warranty deed only promises to defend against claims that challenge that grantor's prior ownership of property. A quit claim deed transfers property with no promises about the ownership of the property and no promises to defend against claims made on the ownership of the property.
Survivorship tenancy relates to the usual joint and survivor type of ownership that a husband and wife might have. But, this is not a deed which only married couples can use. Any 2 or more people can own property jointly, with rights of survivorship. Thus, 2 sisters might own a house with a survivorship tenancy deed and when the first sister dies, the property is automatically (or rather, still) the property of the surviving sister. Similarly, 2 friends might jointly own property and if one dies, the other becomes the sole owner. And, this deed can be used by more than 2 people. A group of people might own a house and they each have joint ownership with the others. If any die, then the ownership of the deceased person goes to all the remaining owners in proportion to their ownership of the property.
A Transfer on Death deed is a relatively new form of transfer in Ohio. It allows an owner to transfer property to another person (the beneficiary) directly, upon the death of the owner. The beneficiary has no rights to the property at all, until the death of the owner. This can be a very useful device for making efficient estate planning arrangements.
Finally, the Executor or Trustee Deed is used by a person who is the executor of a person's estate, or the trustee of a trust (among other fiduciary actions). It is not so common in relative terms, but is necessary when dealing with an estate or with property held in trust.
I highly recommend that people speak with their attorney to determine how to best recognize their ownership of real property. Our homes are typically one of our most valuable assets and represent a significant portion of our net worth. It is important to get good advice on how best to manage our property. Commonly, these issues are examined in a larger estate planning process. But you don't have to have millions of dollars to justify making an estate plan. It does require some thought about what you want to do, and who you want to benefit as time goes forward. Even for most middle class individuals, this requires some thought and preparation to be sure you benefit from the available tools, such as the proper deed on your property.