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Deed Attorney Proudly Serving Livonia, Northville, and Plymouth

Helping Clients with Real-Estate Deeds

Deeds are a very common way of conveying property.  While deeds are relatively simply in their structure, they are one of the more important and complex documents in real-estate matters.  For a deed to properly convey property it must describe the premises, identify the parties, and state the consideration given.  If these elements are present in a deed, that is also signed and delivered to the buyer, with intention to cover the real property, this constitutes a proper conveyance. 

In Michigan, when real-property (land) is transferred a deed is issued giving a person title over the property.  Often people don’t realize there are multiple deeds and ways to title joint property.  The below material should help.

Clint signing and reviewing a deed.

What are the Common Types of Deeds?

In Michigan, there are three deed types, 1) Warranty Deed, 2) Quitclaim Deed, and 3) Fiduciary Deed.  Each of these deeds have important differences which are outlined below.  "Lady Bird" Deeds are also a popular estate planning deed in Michigan.

Warranty Deeds:  Warranty Deeds are the most common deed type and is generally sought out by the buyer of real-property.  Essentially the seller “warrants” to the new owner that the interest can be transferred and is not encumbered.  Since third party buyers almost always seek a warranty deed, this is a main driver of sellers seeking title insurance as part of the closing process.

Quitclaim Deeds:  Quitclaim Deeds like Warranty Deeds convey title to a buyer (grantee).  However, they have a major difference in that they only convey the interest the grantor (seller) holds.  The grantor gives no warranty of title.  Quitclaim deeds are most often used for gifts between family members and correcting deeds.  While acceptable in many situations it is important as the grantee (buyer) to understand the risks, you are taking by accepting a quitclaim deed.

Fiduciary Deeds:  A Fiduciary Deed, while not common, is a deed received from a person who holds title only in a representative capacity.  These are most commonly seen when the person conveying the property is doing so in a representative capacity such as the trustee of a trust or personal representative of an estate.  The buyer does not receive a full warranty, and usually should require a warranty deed or request that other beneficiaries quitclaim and interest that they may have.

Enhanced Life Estate (Lady Bird Deed):  Lady Bird Deeds, also known as enhanced life estates, are a simple but effective part of estate planning in Michigan.  Lady Bird Deeds primary purpose is effectively passing property at the time of passing.  The tool allows the grantor (the person transferring the property) to retain full control of property during life while designating who the property will transfer to after death.

Ownership by Multiple Parties

While a deed is evidence of the event of transferring title between the grantor and grantee.  A title, on the other hand, is the legal right to use and modify the property or transfer all or a portion of the land via a deed

More than one individual or entity may own a single piece of property.  The common example is a married couple.  Titling is an important aspect of real-estate and estate planning law and most questions arise under the various kinds of co-ownership.  Below is a summary of the most common…

Tenants in Common: Tenants in common is the optimal conveyance for parties who desire common possession of the land but not the right of survivorship.  With tenants in common each individual gains full right of the premises regardless of the size of their share.  Lastly, a “tenants” interest in the property can be sold without affecting anyone elses right.  Tenants in common is a popular method of titling in estate planning as the ownership interest of the person who passes is to his or her heirs either through probate or an estate plan.


Joint Tenants:  Joint tenants hold equal and undivided interests in a parcel.  One difference between joint tenants and tenant in commons is that the interest in property of joint tenants does not pass to his or her heirs upon death, instead the interest is split between the remaining joint tenant(s).  A joint tenant can also sell his or her share, but can only give the third party an interest as a tenant in common.  It is usually challenging to find a third party willing to buy into a joint tenancy.

Joint Tenants with Full Right of Survivorship: This type of ownership interest shares many common elements to a normal joint tenancy, however, the major difference is that an owner cannot severe his or her interest without the consent of the other joint owner(s). 


Tenants by the Entireties:  Tenants by the entities is a special type of joint ownership only available to a husband and wife.  If one spouse passes, the other spouse then owns 100% of the property outright.  Further, a spouse cannot sell his or her interest without destroying the tenancy by the entirety and with consent from their spouse.  Lastly since the married couple owns the property as a married entity creditors of one spouse cannot force the sale of the one spouses interest to satisfy debts.

How to Properly Record a Deed?

Under Michigan law, deeds must be registered with a register of deeds in the county where the property is located.  There is a detailed Michigan statute which requires that the deed be formatted and executed with great care.  This includes the width of margins, the weight of the paper used, where the signatures are placed among others.  It is usually the best to work with an experienced real-estate attorney to make sure that these requirements are met to avoid multiple trips to the register of deed office.

What are the Common Deed Issues?

Deed and Titling Issues as you might expect generally arise when an individual is selling or purchasing a home, preparing or administering their estate plan, or disputing property rights.  While Deeds are very important legal documents and can be quite complex, an experienced real estate lawyer can guide you through any questions or challenges that you may have.  Matt Devitt Law, PLC focuses on both real-estate and estate planning matters and would be glad to help with any deed or titling question that you have.  Contact us today (74) 335-0713 to set up a free consultation.

Proudly Serving Livonia, Northville, and Plymouth Areas

39111 Six Mile Rd
Livonia, Wayne County 48152


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