In order for a Florida deed to effectively transfer real estate, it must comply with two main sets of requirements. The first are the requirements for validity of a deed. These requirements must be satisfied in order for a deed to be valid. The second set of requirements related to recording. They must be satisfied in order for the deed to be accepted for recording by the Florida clerk.
Requirements for Validity of Florida Deeds
Fla. Stat. 689.01 sets forth three basic requirements for the validity of a Florida deed:
- The deed must be in writing;
- The deed must be signed by the transferor (the current owner) of the property or his or her duly authorized agent or representative;
- The deed must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, each of whom must also sign the deed.
Fla. Stat. 689.02 goes on to set forth a generic form of Florida warranty deed (see Florida Warranty Deed Form for the actual text). That section also requires a space for the parcel identification number for the deed.
Although the parcel identification number is a requirement, an incorrect parcel identification number will not invalidate the deed. But it is important to note that a parcel identification number is not a legal description. Fla. Stat. 689.02 states:
Such parcel identification number is not a part of the legal description of the property otherwise set forth in the deed and may not be used as a substitute for the legal description of the property being conveyed.
This means that a parcel identification number alone will not properly convey the property. It is important to include the correct legal description.
These are basic requirements. In practice, these requirements only lay a foundation for how deeds are actually prepared. The specifics of the deed—such as the type of warranty—depend a great deal on the language that is included in the deed. For example:
- A Florida quitclaim deed will use different language than a Florida special warranty deed.
- A Florida lady bird deed that is intended to avoid probate will use different language than a deed that is intended to immediately transfer the property.
Specifics like this are not described in the statutes. They require the drafter to know what language should be included in the deed.
Requirements for Recording Deeds in Florida
Florida’s recording requirements are described in Fla. Stat. 695.26:
- The deed must include a “Prepared by” section that states the name and address of the “natural person” (i.e., human being, not an organization) that prepares the deed.
- The deed must contain the names and mailing address of the current owners of the property (grantors) and the new owners of the property (grantees).
- The deed must be signed by the current owners (grantors) and witnesses as provided above.
- The deed must be properly notarized, with all of the correct information filled in.
The deed must also leave a three-inch square white space on the top right-hand corner of the first page of each document and a one-inch by three-inch square white space on the top right-hand corner of each subsequent page of the document. This space is necessary for us to apply computerized recording information.
Of course, a deed cannot be recorded without payment of the required recording fees and documentary stamp taxes. These expenses are described in Florida Documentary Stamp Taxes and Recording Costs for Deeds.