Hawaii Warranty Deed Form
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What is a Hawaii Warranty Deed Form?
A Hawaii warranty deed form is a legal document used in the state of Hawaii to transfer ownership of real property (land, buildings, or other immovable assets) from one party (the current owner, or grantor) to another (the new owner, or grantee). The warranty deed not only conveys ownership but also provides certain guarantees or warranties from the grantor to the grantee.
How Warranty of Title Works in Hawaii
A warranty of title in a Hawaii warranty deed refers to the guarantees provided by the grantor (seller) to the grantee (buyer) regarding the status of the property’s title. The grantor assures the grantee that the grantor has a valid, clear, and marketable title, free from any undisclosed defects or encumbrances, and that the grantor has the legal right to transfer the property. The primary warranties (or covenant of warranty) that a grantor typically provides in a Hawaii warranty deed form are:
- Covenant of seisin. The grantor has legal ownership of the property.
- Covenant of right to sell. The grantor has the legal right to transfer the property described in the deed.
- Covenant against encumbrances. The property is free from any liens or encumbrances, except for those explicitly stated in the deed.
- Covenant of warranty. The grantor guarantees the property’s title and will defend the grantee’s ownership interest against legal claims of third parties.
Hawaii law does not prescribe a warranty deed form by statute, so a Hawaii warranty deed must expressly describe the warranty the deed provides. The warranty deed form is derived from common law, customary practice of Hawaii attorneys, and title companies’ requirements.
How Warranty of Title Protects the New Owner
In a Hawaii warranty deed, the warranty of title provides the grantee with legal recourse if any of the covenants of warranty are breached. If a defect or encumbrance is discovered after the transfer, the grantee may have the right to seek financial damages or other remedies from the grantor to rectify the situation.1
Other Names for a Hawaii Warranty Deed Form
A deed with a full warranty of title may also be called a general warranty deed to distinguish it from limited warranty deed—which provides a limited warranty of title. Whatever the terminology, a warranty deed provides the grantee (buyer) with the broadest level of protection and guarantees regarding the property’s title, as the grantor (seller) warrants that the title is clear, valid, and free from any undisclosed defects or encumbrances throughout the entire history of the property.
How Do Hawaii Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
A Hawaii warranty deed is one of three deed types that are defined by the warranty of title provided. The other two deed types are quitclaim deeds and limited warranty deeds.
Hawaii Quitclaim Deed
A Hawaii general warranty deed provides a full warranty of title, assuring the new owner that the title is clear, valid, and free of undisclosed issues throughout the entire history of the property. A Hawaii quitclaim deed, on the other hand, provides no warranties or guarantees regarding the property’s title. The new owner receives the property “as-is,” with no assurance that the current owner holds a valid title or that the property is free from defects or encumbrances.2
Hawaii Limited Warranty Deed
A Hawaii limited warranty deed is a middle ground between the full warranty provided by a Hawaii warranty deed and the lack of warranty provided by a Hawaii quitclaim deed. With a Hawaii limited warranty deed, the grantor provides a limited warranty of title, which covers only the period during which the current owner owned the property. The current owner does not warrant against any defects or encumbrances that may have arisen before their ownership.
Hawaii Warranty Deeds and Other Hawaii Deed Forms
A warranty deed is titled after the warranty of title it provides. Some other Hawaii deeds are known by their probate avoidance feature. A Hawaii life estate deed and a Hawaii transfer on death deed are both legal instruments used to transfer real property interests at death, but they serve different purposes and function in different ways.
Hawaii Transfer-on-Death Deed
A Hawaii transfer on death deed (TOD deed) is used to designate a beneficiary who will inherit the property upon the owner’s death, without the need for probate.3 The owner retains full ownership and control over the property during their lifetime. The owner can continue to use, sell, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the property without the consent of the beneficiary. The owner can change the beneficiary or revoke the TOD deed at any time before the owner’s death.
Upon the owner’s death, the property automatically transfers to the designated beneficiary, who then takes full ownership without the need for probate. Transfer-on-death deeds are commonly used in estate planning as a way to avoid probate and streamline the process of transferring property to a designated beneficiary upon the owner’s death.
Hawaii Life Estate Deed
A Hawaii life estate deed is used to grant someone (the life tenant) the right to possess and use a property during their lifetime, while also designating a remainderman who will inherit the property upon the life tenant’s death. The life tenant has the right to use, possess, and enjoy the property during their lifetime but cannot sell or mortgage the property without the consent of the remainderman. The life estate ends upon the death of the life tenant. Then, the property automatically transfers to the remainderman, who then takes full ownership without the need for probate.
Life estate deeds are often used in estate planning—with the property owner keeping the life estate himself or herself and giving the remainder to a family member. A life estate deed can also ensure that a spouse, family member, or other beneficiary can continue to live in the property for the rest of their life while still providing for the property’s eventual transfer to a designated remainderman.
Common Uses of Hawaii Warranty Deed Forms
General warranty deeds are typically used in traditional real estate transactions where the grantor wants to provide the grantee with the highest level of protection and guarantees regarding the property’s title. They are most often used in the traditional sale context, when money is changing hands. To help shift the risk associated with the warranty, the transaction will almost always involve the purchase title insurance.
How to Create a Hawaii Warranty Deed Form
A Hawaii warranty deed form generally includes the following information:
- Names and addresses of the grantor and grantee
- The legal description of the property, including parcel or tax map key number or the property’s certificate of title number (in Land Court)
- A statement of consideration (Hawaii deeds typically state nominal consideration)
- Any exceptions or reservations from the transfer, such as mineral rights or easements
- The date of the transfer and the effective date of the deed
- Signatures of the grantor and, if required, the grantee
- Notary public acknowledgment and seal, confirming the authenticity of the signatures
Once the warranty deed is completed and signed by both parties, it should be recorded with the Bureau of Conveyances—noting whether the property is in the regular system or land court system. Recording provides public notice of the transfer and protects the new owner’s interests.
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