Arizona Special Warranty Deed Form – Summary

The Arizona special warranty deed form provides a limited warranty of title. With a special warranty deed, the person transferring the property guarantees that he or she has done nothing that would cause title problems, but makes no guarantees about what might have happened before he or she acquired the property. In Arizona, special warranty deeds are often used:

  • To transfer property to a trust—like a living trust—that the transferor controls or benefits from;
  • To transfer property to a business—like a limited liability company—that the transferor owns;
  • For sales of commercial or multi-family residential property;
  • To transfer property to a new owner that is purchasing title insurance on the property and is not concerned with the limited warranty of title; or
  • In other circumstances where the current owner does not want to be legally responsible for problems with title that arose before the current owner owned the property.

A special warranty deed requires special language to ensure that the deed qualifies as a special warranty deed. This language is automatically included by our deed preparation service and valid in all Arizona counties. Get Deed

How an Arizona Special Warranty Deed Works

What is an Arizona Special Warranty Deed?

An Arizona special warranty deed form transfers Arizona real estate from the current owner (grantor) to the new owner (grantee) with a limited warranty of title. When a grantor signs a special warranty deed form, the grantor guarantees that the grantor has free and clear title to the property being conveyed and will defend title against any title claims that arose while the grantor owned the property. Special warranty deed forms are recognized by various provisions of Arizona law, including A.R.S. § 33-402.

Other Names for Arizona Special Warranty Deeds

Deeds that convey property with a limited warranty of title are called different names in different states. In most states—including Arizona—they are called special warranty deeds. In other states, like California, they are called grant deeds. In others, like Michigan, they are called covenant deeds. And other states may call them statutory warranty deeds. Each of these terms refer to the same basic type of deed form—a deed that includes a warranty of title that is limited to the period when the grantor owned the property.

Relationship of Arizona Special Warranty Deed Form to Warranty of Title

Key Term: Warranty of Title. Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys. Title issues often require legal action to fix and can decrease the value of real estate. If the property has no title issues, it is said to have clear title. A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the transferor to the transferee that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the transferee can sue the transferor over any title issues.

The defining feature of an Arizona special warranty deed form is the limited warranty of title. A grantor that signs a special warranty deed form guarantees that he or she has clear title to the real estate (subject to the exceptions listed in the deed). The grantor also promises to defend the title against any claims that arose while the grantor owned the property.

Because of the role of title insurance in most real estate sales, the warranty of title provided by a special warranty deed is usually supplemented by a title insurance policy. Title insurance shifts the risk of title issues from the grantor to the title insurance company. Title insurance also adds another layer of scrutiny to help ensure that title issues are caught and addressed before the property is transferred.

Comparison of Arizona Special Warranty Deed Form to Other Forms of Arizona Deeds

The limited warranty of title provided by an Arizona special warranty deed form distinguishes it from two other deed forms that are defined by their warranty of title:

  1. Arizona General Warranty Deed Form – An Arizona general warranty deed form provides a warranty of title that is broader than an Arizona special warranty deed form because it extends to all title issues, including those that arose before the grantor owned the property. A special warranty deed form only covers the period that the grantor owned the property.
  2. Arizona Quitclaim Deed Form – An Arizona quitclaim deed form makes no warranty of title. The grantee takes the property “as is” and assumes the risk of any title problems. If there are title issues relating to the property, the grantee cannot sue the grantor.

An Arizona special warranty deed form also differs from Arizona deeds that are named by features other than the warranty of title. These deeds include:

  1. Arizona Life Estate Deed Form – A life estate deed form allows the current owner to reserve a life estate (and become a life tenant) and transfer the property at death to one or more remainder beneficiaries. The remainder beneficiaries have a present interest in the property, even though the interest is not possessory. The life tenant cannot sell, mortgage, or otherwise deal with the property without involving the remainder beneficiaries.
  2. Arizona Beneficiary Deed Form – A newer deed form that, like a life estate deed, allows an owner to transfer property at death. But unlike a life estate deed, the beneficiaries have no interest in the property while the owner is still alive. The owner may deal freely with the property—and even change revoke the beneficiary designation—without involving the beneficiaries.

A life estate deed form may or may not have a warranty of title. As a result, a life estate deed may also be a quitclaim deed, special warranty deed, or general warranty deed.

Common Uses of Arizona Special Warranty Deeds

Special warranty deeds are becoming the most common deed form used to convey title to Arizona real estate, especially in commercial transactions. By allocating some risk to the seller without making the seller responsible for prior owners, a special warranty deed form provides a middle ground between a quitclaim deed and a general warranty deed.

Special warranty deeds are also used to transfer property to a living trust or an LLC owned by the grantor. Using a special warranty deed may provide continuity of title insurance coverage when the property is transferred to the trust or LLC.

How to Create an Arizona Special Warranty Deed

Arizona special warranty deeds are recognized by various provisions of the Arizona Revised Statutes and are well-accepted Arizona deed forms. Each special warranty deed must include precise language to create the limited warranty of title that is characteristic of special warranty deeds. Seemingly minor differences in language can have important legal consequences.

Each Arizona special warranty deed must include all of the elements required or customarily included for a valid deed, including a valid legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title, font size and page format requirements, and signature and notarization requirements.

Each Arizona special warranty deed form used by our deed preparation service was attorney-designed to be eligible for recording in all Arizona counties. Each deed comes with step-by-step instructions for signing and filing the deed with the local land records.