Arizona Deed Forms for Real Estate Transfers

Need to transfer Arizona real estate?

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Arizona real estate is transferred using a legal document called a deed. A deed allows the current owners (grantors) to transfer property to new owners (grantees). Once the deed is signed, it is recorded in the land records of the county where the property is located. To be valid, each deed must meet the requirements of Arizona law.

What types of deeds are used to transfer Arizona real estate?

The names of Arizona deeds are determined by the features of the deed. Three Arizona deed forms are named after the warranty of title that they either provide or don’t provide:

  1. General warranty deed form. Provides a full warranty of title that gives the most protection to the grantee. The grantor warrants that the grantor has free and clear title to the property, has the right to convey it, and will be legally responsible for all claims involving title to the property, including claims that arise from the actions of prior owners. Sometimes referred to simply as a warranty deed.
  2. Special warranty deed form. Similar to a general warranty deed, except that the grantor is only responsible for title problems that arose while the grantor owned the property. The grantor is not responsible for title issues relating to prior owners.
  3. Quitclaim deed form. Provides no warranty of title. The grantee takes the property “as is” and cannot sue the grantor if it turns out that there is a problem with title.

Questions about what Arizona deed form is right for you?

Click the link below to use our guided interview. We’ll go over the options that are available in Arizona and provide guidance on choosing the deed form that matches your goals.

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What types of estate planning deeds are used in Arizona?

Arizona law recognizes two other deed forms that are named after their probate avoidance feature:

  1. Beneficiary deed form. A newer form of deed specifically designed by the Arizona legislature to avoid probate by naming a beneficiary to inherit property at death. Unlike a life estate deed (discussed below), an owner that makes a beneficiary deed forfeits no control during his or her life and can change his or her mind. An Arizona beneficiary deed may also be called a transfer-on-death deed or TOD deed.
  2. Life estate deed form. An older Arizona deed form developed to avoid probate at death. Unlike a beneficiary deed, a life estate deed forfeits control over the property during life. Although the grantor can retain the right to use the property, the grantor loses the ability to sell, mortgage, or otherwise deal with the property without involving the new owner.

Need an Arizona transfer-on-death deed?

In states that recognize them, transfer-on-death-deeds (sometimes called beneficiary deeds) are popular probate avoidance tools. Our TOD deed creation software makes it easy to create one. Click the link below to get started.

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What are the ways that multiple owners can hold title to Arizona real estate?

Arizona law recognizes several ways in which multiple owners can hold title to Arizona real estate. Unmarried owners usually hold title in one of two ways.

  1. Joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Each owner is treated as owning an undivided in interest in the property as a whole. On the death of an owner, the deceased owner’s interest passes to the other owner in proportion to their ownership. Probate is not required.
  2. Tenancy in common. Each owner is treated as owning an undivided interest in the property as a whole (same as joint tenancy), but there is no right of survivorship. On the death of an owner, his or her interest passes to his or her estate, not to the surviving owners.

Married couples also have additional options. As mentioned below, property acquired during the marriage is usually considered to be owned by both spouses as community property. By default, community property is held without right of survivorship, meaning that each spouse’s interest must go through probate when the spouse dies. The spouses can change this by creating community property with right of survivorship. Adding the right of survivorship allows a deceased spouse’s interest to pass to the surviving spouse, avoiding the need for probate.

What are the rules for spousal ownership of Arizona real estate?

Arizona is one of only nine community property states. As a community property state, Arizona law treats a married couple as a single economic unit. Almost all property acquired during the marriage is treated as belonging to both spouses, even if only one spouse is listed on the property. Classifying the property as community property has several consequences:

  • Each spouse is considered to own an undivided interest in the property.
  • Neither spouse can convey the property by selling his or her interest. To transfer or mortgage the property, both spouses must join on the conveyance or mortgage.
  • Upon the death of a spouse, the assets owned by the deceased spouse must go through probate (unless the property is held as community property with right of survivorship, as discussed below).

In the deed preparation context, this means that a married person cannot create a valid deed to community property without the joinder of his or her spouse.1

Arizona law also gives special protection for property that a married couple owns as a marital home and uses as a primary residence (homestead). One spouse cannot convey homestead property without the consent of the other spouse.2

Where are deeds filed in Arizona?

Arizona deeds are filed in the real property records of the county recorder of the county where the property is located. Unlike some states, Arizona deeds need not state whether the property is in a city or an unincorporated area or include the grantor’s and grantee’s county of residence when listing addresses in the vesting paragraph.

How much does it cost to file an Arizona deed?

Deed recording costs can vary in Arizona, but are usually $15.00 to $30.00 per deed.

Does Arizona charge a transfer tax on real estate transfers?

Unlike many states, Arizona does not charge a transfer tax on transfers of Arizona real estate.

Does Arizona require any other form when recording a deed?

An Arizona Affidavit of Property Value is required for transfers of real estate unless the transfer qualifies for an exemption.

  1. A.R.S. § 33-452.
  2. A.R.S. § 33-453.