What Is a Kansas Limited Warranty Deed Form?
A Kansas deed is a signed, recorded legal document that transfers ownership of Kansas real estate from the current owner (the grantor) to a new owner (the grantee).1 A Kansas limited warranty deed form is a specific type of deed that transfers real estate with limited warranty of title.
Kansas law allows use of two other deed forms—general warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds—but does not clearly provide for limited warranty deeds. Kansas limited warranty deeds are rooted in common law and a property owner’s right to state terms for transferring land.2
What Is Warranty of Title?
A deed that provides warranty of title comes with the current owner’s guarantee that the deed transfers a clear, valid title to real estate.3 The guarantee protects the property’s new owner from title defects, which are problems with the property’s title that affect its value or marketability. Title defects might include an unpaid mortgage or mechanic’s lien, an unclear chain of title that makes the property hard to sell, or a third party’s claim that they have a greater right to own the property.4
A property owner who warrants a property’s title basically promises to accept the new owner’s financial risk of unknown title defects. The current owner agrees to cover any financial loss the new owner suffers if a defect arises and to defend the new owner’s title against lawful third-party claims.5
How Is a Kansas Limited Warranty Deed’s Warranty Limited?
Kansas limited warranty deeds provide a warranty that covers only part of the property’s chain of title. The warranty protects against defects arising during the current owner’s period of ownership—but not before. A limited warranty deed divides the risk of unknown title defects between the current and new owners, depending on when events causing a specific title defect occurred.
What Are Other Names for a Kansas Limited Warranty Deed Form?
Different states use different names for deeds that transfer real estate with limited warranty of title. Limited warranty deed is the preferred name in Kansas. Kansas courts and lawyers sometimes call it a special warranty deed—the more common name nationally.6
Other names for this document include grant deed and covenant deed.7 The term statutory warranty deed describes a deed that gives warranty of title based on form language chosen by a state legislature. Where this term is used, it typically refers to a general warranty deed that provides more complete warranty of title.
How Do Kansas Limited Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
A Kansas limited warranty deed divides the risk of unknown title defects between the current owner signing the deed and the new owner accepting it. Each party’s exact risk level varies between deeds—depending in part on how long the current owner has owned the property. For example, a property owner who held title for a decade takes on a greater risk when signing a limited warranty deed than an owner who bought the property to resell it right away. In either case, though, the current owner and new owner bear at least some risk.
Kansas’ two statutorily-prescribed deed forms—general warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds—do not split the risk of title defects. Either the current owner or the new owner assumes the entire risk, depending on which deed form they use.
- Kansas general warranty deed form. A Kansas general warranty deed—often called just a warranty deed—transfers ownership of real estate with unrestricted warranty of title.8 The current owner promises that the title is valid and defect-free and that they will defend the transferred title if a conflicting third-party claim arises.9 The new owner can recover civil damages from the current owner if an unknown title defect causes the new owner financial loss.10 A warranty deed’s guarantee extends to the property’s entire history—including before the current owner took title—and places all risk of unknown title defects on the current owner.
- Kansas quitclaim deed form. A Kansas quitclaim deed transfers any ownership rights the current owner holds with no warranty of title.11 The new owner receives whatever the current owner can lawfully transfer but no guarantee that the transferred interest is valid or free of defects. The new owner bears the risk of title defects and cannot sue the current owner for breach of warranty if a defect emerges.
Either party to a deed—or an interested third party such as a lender—can lower the risk of unknown problems with a transferred property’s title by buying title insurance. Title insurance is a contract under which an insurer agrees to cover the financial risk of unknown defects in an insured property’s title.12 For example, if a transferred property’s title is invalid, a title insurer might pay back the property’s purchase price to the purchaser. Both parties to a limited warranty deed benefit from title insurance because both parties bear some risk.
How Do Kansas Limited Warranty Deed Forms Compare to Other Kansas Deeds Used in Estate Planning?
Other deed forms recognized in Kansas are more specialized than warranty deeds or quitclaim deeds and can apply to estate plans or financial planning. A Kansas TOD deed—short for transfer-on-death deed—transfers real estate from a property owner to a named beneficiary when the current owner dies.13 Real estate named in a Kansas TOD deed remains completely owned and controlled by the owner while the owner is living.14 The beneficiary takes title without a will and the property never becomes part of the owner’s estate when the owner dies.15
Kansas life estate deeds work like TOD deeds—with a critical difference. A life estate deed gives a current owner, the life tenant, a lifetime right to the property. Another person, called the remainderman, receives future rights to the property after the life tenant dies.16 The remainder interest lawfully vests during the life tenant’s life—unlike a TOD beneficiary’s interest. Therefore, the life tenant’s rights in the property are limited under a life estate deed. A TOD deed does not limit the property owner’s rights in the property as long as the owner lives.17
A Kansas life estate deed can also be a limited warranty deed if it transfers ownership with limited warranty of title. A Kansas TOD deed transfers ownership as long as there are no existing liens or other defects and does not provide warranty of title.18
What Are Some Common Uses of Kansas Limited Warranty Deed Forms?
Transfers of commercial, agricultural, or multi-unit residential properties sold for fair market value are often done using limited warranty deeds. Limited warranty deeds are good for these types of transactions because sharing the risk helps uphold both parties’ rights. A buyer can be confident that the seller is unaware of title problems created while the seller held title. The seller avoids long-term risk due to matters about which they lack firsthand knowledge.
A sale of a single-family home could use a limited warranty deed. General warranty deeds, though, are much more common in these cases because homebuyers and mortgage lenders want the extra security of a general warranty.
Limited warranty deeds are also good for some deeds signed by a fiduciary on behalf of the legal title holder. A fiduciary who does not have legal power or knowledge to extend a general warranty can use a limited warranty deed to offer some assurance to a buyer. Any of the following fiduciaries might use a limited warranty deed:
- a trustee signing a deed that transfers real estate titled to the trust;19
- a corporation’s president or an LLC’s manager signing a deed that transfers entity-owned real estate;20
- an agent acting under power of attorney signing a deed that transfers real estate owned by the principal;21
- a court-appointed conservator signing a deed that, with court approval, transfers real estate owned by the conservatee.22
How Can You Create a Kansas Limited Warranty Deed?
Kansas deed laws include recommended statutory forms for quitclaim deeds and general warranty deeds.23 Kansas limited warranty deeds are derived from common law. An individual preparing a Kansas limited warranty deed form must carefully ensure that the deed accurately states the warranty and transfer terms and follows Kansas laws for deeds in general.
Creating a Limited Warranty
A limited warranty deed must include language explaining what the intended warranty covers.24 Limited warranty deeds typically note that the current owner warrants the title to the transferred property, or similar language. The deed should clearly restrict the time period to which the warranty applies.
A common approach is to include each warranty-of-title covenant.25 However, a limited warranty deed states that its warranty applies only to lawful claims made under the current owner’s time of ownership and not to claims or interests that arose before or apart from this time. The effect of this language is to limit the time span covered by the warranty of title. Parties to a deed can exclude certain conditions from the warranty by naming those conditions in the deed.
A Kansas deed transfers the current owner’s entire ownership unless the deed clearly states otherwise.26 Along with clearly limiting the warranty, a limited warranty deed can also limit the rights transferred by the deed.
Kansas General Deed Requirements
A Kansas limited warranty deed must follow Kansas’s rules for all deeds. A Kansas deed must be properly signed and notarized, in the correct format, with an accurate legal description of the property.27
Selecting a Kansas Limited Warranty Deed Form
Legislatures in other states provide legal forms for limited warranty deeds. Using another state’s form to transfer Kansas real estate is not wise. Laws for real estate transactions are highly state-specific, and the requirements and norms differ greatly from one state to the next. A Kansas limited warranty deed form must be designed to follow Kansas law and must be able to fit the terms of a specific property transfer.
- Kan. Stat. § 58-2205.
- See Rama Operating Co. v. Barker, 47 Kan. App. 2d 1020, (Kan. Ct. App. 2012).
- See Kan. Stat. § 58-2203.
- See Kan. Stat. § 40-1136(g).
- See Lewis v. Jetz Service Co., 9 P.3d 1268, 1270 (Kan. Ct. App. 2000), quoting 14 Powell on Real Property, § 81A.06(2)(d)(i) (1999).
- See, e.g., Gotheridge v. Unified School District, 512 P.2d 478, (Kan. 1973).
- See, e.g., Cal. Civ. Code § 1092; Mich. Comp. Law § 750.275 (prohibiting the use of warranty deed when a deed’s warranty of title is not complete).
- Kan. Stat. § 58-2203.
- Griffith v. Byers Construction Co., 510 P.2d 198 (Kan. 1973).
- Wilder v. Wilhite, 376 P.2d. 797 (Kan. 1962).
- Kan. Stat. § 58-2204.
- Kan. Stat. § 40-1136(g).
- See Kan. Stat. § 59-3501, et seq.
- Kan. Stat. § 59-3506; Kan. Stat. § 58-2414.
- Kan. Stat. § 59-3504(a); Kan. Stat. § 59-3507.
- Kan. Stat. § 58-503.
- Kan. Stat. § 59-3503(a); Kan. Stat. § 59-3506.
- Kan. Stat. § 59-3504(b).
- See Kan. Stat. § 58a-810(c); Kan. Stat. § 58a-816.
- See Kan. Stat. § 17-6003(b); Kan. Stat. § 17-7693.
- See Kan. Stat. § 58-654(d).
- See Kan. Stat. § 59-3078(f)(4).
- Kan. Stat. § 58-2203; Kan. Stat. § 58-2204.
- See, e.g., Rama Operating Co. v. Barker, 47 Kan. App. 2d 1020, (Kan. Ct. App. 2012).
- See Griffith v. Byers Construction Co., 510 P.2d 198 (Kan. 1973).
- Kan. Stat. § 58-2202.
- See, e.g., Kan. Stat. § 28-115; Kan. Stat. § 58-2205; Kan. Stat § 58-2209; Kan. Stat. § 58-2211; Kan. Const., Art. 15, Sec. 9.