Arkansas Warranty Deed Form
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What is an Arkansas Warranty Deed Form?
An Arkansas warranty deed is a legal document used to transfer ownership of real estate from one party to another in the state of Arkansas. The warranty deed includes a guarantee—called a warranty of title—from the seller (also known as the grantor) to the buyer (also known as the grantee). The seller guarantees clear and marketable title to the property and that the seller has the right to transfer the property.
How Warranty of Title Works in Arkansas
A warranty of title is a legal guarantee that a deed transfers valid, clear title to the real estate.1 This means that the seller is warranting that there are no defects in the title to the property—such as liens or mortgages—that could prevent the buyer from taking ownership of the property. A warranty deed provides a complete warranty of title. Other types of deeds used in Arkansas provide a limited warranty or no warranty.
Other Names for an Arkansas Warranty Deed Form
Most U.S. states use the term warranty deed to refer to a deed that provides a full warranty of title. The term general warranty deed is sometimes used to distinguish warranty deeds from special warranty deeds (which provide a limited warranty). A few states use specialized names for deed that provide a general warranty. New York, for example, uses the name deed with full covenants or full covenant and warranty deed.
How Do Arkansas Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
An Arkansas warranty deed form is one of three primary Arkansas deed forms that is named after its warranty of title. The other two types are quitclaim deeds and special warranty deeds.
Arkansas Quitclaim Deed
A warranty deed provides a complete warranty that covers the property’s entire history. In contrast, an Arkansas quitclaim deed makes no guarantees about the property’s title.2 A quitclaim deed simply transfers to the buyer any interest the seller may have in the property. A buyer who acquires property through a quitclaim deed assumes all risks of problems with the property’s title.
Quitclaim deeds are often used when the new owner provides no consideration for the transfer and when the buyer already has some interest in the property. For example, an owner may use a quitclaim deed to transfer property between former spouses due to divorce or to transfer the property’s title to a living trust.
Arkansas Special Warranty Deed
An Arkansas special warranty deed form provides a limited warranty of title. The seller guarantees that he or she owns the property and has done nothing to impair the property’s title.3 The seller promises to defend the new owner’s title against claims based on something that occurred while the seller owned the property.
An Arkansas special warranty deed provides the buyer less protection than a warranty deed but more protection than a quitclaim deed. A warranty deed protects the new owner against any claims made by third parties, regardless of when those claims arise. A special warranty deed protects the new owner against claims made during the time the seller owned the property.
Arkansas Warranty Deeds and Other Arkansas Deed Forms
An Arkansas warranty deed form also has some key differences from deeds used in Arkansas estate plans. The two main Arkansas estate-planning deeds are life estate deeds and Arkansas beneficiary (transfer-on-death) deeds—each of which lets property avoid probate.
Arkansas Life Estate Deed
An Arkansas life estate deed transfers ownership of the property to a life tenant for the duration of his or her life. The life estate deed also names another person—called a remainder beneficiary or remainderman—who takes ownership of the property when the life tenant dies. An Arkansas property owner who records a life estate deed typically reserves the life estate to himself or herself (which makes the owner the life tenant after the deed is created). The life estate deed then transfers the remainder interest to a family member—who becomes the property owner after the current owner dies.
After a life estate deed is recorded, it is irrevocable, and the owner can no longer transfer complete ownership of the property without the remainder beneficiary’s consent.
Arkansas Transfer-on-Death Deed
An Arkansas transfer-on-death deed—also called a beneficiary deed—is a special type of deed that allows the property owner to retain ownership during his or her lifetime and name one or more beneficiaries who automatically receive ownership upon the owner’s death.4 Unlike a life estate deed, a transfer-on-death deed allows the current owner to keep complete control and possession of the property until his or her death. When the owner dies, the TOD deed automatically transfers the property to the beneficiary. The owner can sell or mortgage the property—or amend or revoke the TOD deed—at any time during his or her lifetime.5
Common Uses of Arkansas Warranty Deed Forms
An Arkansas warranty deed is commonly used for purchases of residential or commercial real estate in Arkansas. The warranty deed provides assurance to the buyer that the seller has clear and marketable title to the property and that there are no undisclosed liens or encumbrances on the property. Transfers of Arkansas real estate for little or no consideration typically use quitclaim deeds or special warranty deeds.
How to Create an Arkansas Warranty Deed Form
The Arkansas warranty deed form is not based on Arkansas statutes. It is derived from the customary practice of Arkansas attorneys and title companies. Arkansas warranty deeds include express covenants of warranty, meaning that the terms of the deed’s warranty are written directly into the deed.6
An Arkansas warranty deed must also meet Arkansas’ general requirements for deeds. Among other things, the warranty deed must be formatted correctly, including the current owner’s and new owner’s names and addresses, a legal description of the property being transferred, and the terms of the transfer. The deed should specify the co-ownership form if there are multiple new owners. Arkansas recognizes tenancy in common and joint tenancy with right of survivorship. The grantor must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public, who then notarizes the document to make it legally binding.
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- Ark. Code § 18-12-102(c).
- Hill v. Gilliam, 682 S.W. 2d 737 (Ark. 1985).
- Ark. Code § 18-12-102(b).
- Ark. Code § 18-12-608(a).
- Ark. Code § 18-12-608(d)(1).
- Foster, Lynn and J Cliff McKinney, II, Deed Covenants of Title and the Preparation of Deeds: Theory Law and Practice in Arkansas, 34 U. ARK. LITTLE ROCK L. REV. 53 (2011).