An individual has the right to claim possession of a certain property only if the property title is in that person's name. The written instrument that proves legal ownership of an estate is declared in a document called a deed. During feudal times, transfer of ownership for property was done only by giving the property itself. There were no written legalities. In the modern days, a deed of transfer is necessary to change property ownership.
Property can be transferred from one owner to another through four means: descent, will, voluntary alienation and involuntary alienation.
A property title shifts ownership by descent if an individual dies without leaving a will. The properties automatically go to the nearest relative. A title can be acquired by will if an individual dies with a will and testament. In this case, it becomes clear to whom a certain property will be given. Voluntary alienation happens when a property is given as a gift, through loan, trade or sale. It occurs when an individual voluntarily surrenders some or all of his property rights to another. On the other hand, involuntary alienation refers to transfer of ownership without the owner's consent. Some instances are uncontrolled transfer of tax sales or sales to foreclose a mortgage.
While a deed transfer and a property title transfer may sound confusing, transferring a deed and property title can be summed up into four steps. Here's how to transfer property ownership:
1. Consult a lawyer specializing in deed and property title transfer. Legal property transfer is important especially if an estate is acquired as an inheritance, a gift or a part of a divorce settlement.
2. Give the particular details of property transfer to your legal adviser. He will then recommend which means of property title transfer is appropriate for the transaction.
- General Warranty Deed. The grantor will guarantee property title against defects obtained during grantor's ownership. It does not guarantee defects acquired during grantee's possession.
- Special Warranty Deed. The grantor only guarantees the title against defects obtained during the time of grantor's ownership, not including the time before that.
- Bargain and Sale Deed. The grantor guarantees that he has done no harm to the title. It refers to grantor's acts only. Warranty and Quitclaim Deeds can also be considered a Bargain and Sale Deed.
- Quitclaim Deed. The grantor guarantees nothing. Quitclaim deed releases the present interest of the grantor to a property.
3. Arrange for all interested parties to meet with your lawyer. The lawyer and his staff will explain the details to the grantor's and grantee's sides (ensuring that they understand everything). Written documents will be signed, then notarized in the lawyer's presence. Remember to read the documents before affixing your signatures.
4. Follow up on your request for transfer of deed and property title. Check in your local courthouse or deed registry office whether your request has been properly complied. The transfer will only be legal and valid if proper ownership records appear in your deed registry office.
To avoid illegal or void transfer of deed and property title, make sure that your lawyer is properly certified. Also, read about property title transfer or ask around beforehand so you have an idea on the steps to follow.