Kentucky has legal requirements for the content and signing of deeds. All Kentucky deeds require a fee at the time of recording, and some deeds also require payment of transfer tax.
Formatting Requirements for Kentucky Deeds
Kentucky’s real estate laws do not address formatting standards for deeds. The standards described below are based on uniform specifications adopted by the Kentucky County Clerk’s Association.
Paper, Page Size, and Ink
Kentucky deeds should be printed on white, 20-pound-weight paper with no watermarks. County clerks prefer letter-size paper (8½ × 11 inches) and also accept legal size (8½ × 14 inches).
Deeds should be printed in black ink using a font at least as large as 10-point Times New Roman. Clerks prefer dark blue ink for signatures. Text should appear on only one side of a page. Deeds must be printed clearly with enough contrast for copying and scanning.
A deed’s first page should have a 2-inch top margin. All other margins should be at least 1 inch.
A deed’s title—for example, Special Warranty Deed or Quitclaim Deed—should be printed directly below the top margin of the deed’s first page.
Information Requirements for Kentucky Deeds
A Kentucky deed must contain the information listed below. The county clerk is prohibited from recording a deed that fails to meet Kentucky’s requirements.1
Current Owner and New Owner Identifying Information
A Kentucky deed must identify by full legal name and mailing address the current owner who is transferring the property (the grantor) and the new owner who is receiving it (the grantee).2
A deed transferring property from an individual owner should list the owner’s marital status to avoid future problems with the property’s title.3
A deed must have a granting clause—also called a vesting clause—declaring that the current owner is transferring the property to the new owner named in the deed. The granting clause’s wording depends on the type of deed and the warranty of title (if any) the current owner is providing.
A deed must include a valid legal description that identifies the property the deed transfers. The property description usually lists the state, county, and municipality (if applicable) where the property is located.
Kentucky requires a deed that transfers an interest in real estate to include a derivation clause—which is a statement that identifies the source of the current owner’s title.4 If the owner received the property through an earlier deed, the derivation clause must identify the earlier deed’s recording office, book and page number, and date.5 If the current owner inherited the property, the deed must state clearly and accurately how and from whom the current owner acquired the property.
The derivation clause is usually included within or directly following the property description.
Note: An owner who acquired Kentucky real estate by inheritance must record an affidavit of descent before transferring the property. The affidavit states the ancestor’s name, date of death, marital status and spouse’s name (if applicable), and former place of residence. The affidavit also identifies the name, age, and address of each heir who inherited the property and his or her relationship to the ancestor.6
Property Identification Number
Counties may require deeds to include the property identification number (PIDN)—also called the parcel identification number—assigned to the property in the county’s property tax mapping system.7
A Kentucky deed must identify the actual consideration provided in exchange for the transfer.8 A deed that transfers property as a gift or for nominal or no consideration must state the property’s fair market value.
Address for Tax Statements
A deed must list a name and address where the county can send tax statements for the property.9
Identification of Deed Preparer
A deed must state the name and address of the individual responsible for preparing the document.10 The preparer must sign the statement identifying the preparer. The preparer information customarily appears at the bottom of the deed’s final page.
Transfer Tax Exemption
Deeds that are exempt from Kentucky’s transfer tax should identify the exemption on the face of the deed.11
Signing Requirements for Kentucky Deeds
Kentucky requires the person transferring property (the grantor) and the person receiving property (the grantee) to sign the deed.12 A deed from or to more than one person must be signed by all grantors and grantees.
Power of Attorney
A property owner can create a signed power of attorney document authorizing an agent to sign a deed on the owner’s behalf.14 The power of attorney form must be recorded at the same time as the deed or already recorded in the same county.
A Kentucky deed transferring real estate that a married person owns individually should be signed by the owner’s spouse. The spouse’s signature releases the spouse’s dower and curtesy rights in the property.15 Failure to release the spouse’s rights can result in future problems with the property’s title.
Signatures within a deed must be acknowledged before a notary.16 Kentucky has short-form notary certificates for individuals, corporations, partnerships, agents under power of attorney, and trustees.17 A deed may alternatively be proved by two signing witnesses.18
Statement of Full Consideration
Kentucky deeds must include a statement of full consideration with the current owner’s and new owner’s notarized signatures.19 The statement of full consideration—also called a consideration statement—may appear on the face of the deed or within a separate consideration certificate attached to the deed.
A consideration statement verifies that the consideration listed in the deed is the actual full amount paid for the property.20 If the deed transfers property as a gift for nominal or no consideration, the statement affirms that the transfer is a gift and lists the property’s estimated fair cash value.21 If the deed involves an exchange of property, it must state the exchanged property’s fair value. 22
Deeds Exempt from Statement of Full Consideration
Certain deeds need not include a signed statement of consideration. The following deeds are exempt:23
- Deeds that convey only utility easements;
- Deeds that transfer property through a court action pursuant to a divorce proceeding;
- Deeds that transfer rights-of-way involving a governmental agency;
- Deeds that convey cemetery lots;
- Deeds that correct an error in a previous deed that transfers the same property from the same grantor to the same grantee; and
- Deeds that transfer real property to a local airport board.
Kentucky has adopted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act—which allows county recorders to accept electronically filed deeds.24 A deed that has an electronic signature and complies with Kentucky’s standards for electronic deeds is a signed, written deed capable of being recorded.25 County clerks who accept electronic deeds must also continue accepting deeds in paper form.26
Recording Fees for Kentucky Deeds
Kentucky deeds are recorded with the county clerk of the county where the property is located.27 The base recording fee is $33.00 for the initial five pages and $3.00 per page for each page over five.28 However, Kentucky law authorizes other deed-related fees, so the total recording fee can vary among deeds and counties.29 The standard recording fee in many counties is $50.00, plus $3.00 for each page over five.
Kentucky Transfer Tax
Kentucky charges a real estate transfer tax for recording a deed that transfers real estate. The transfer tax rate is $0.50 per $500.00 of the property’s value.30 Value is the full actual consideration paid for the property or—if the deed transfers real estate as a gift—the fair price a buyer would pay for the property in an arms-length sale.31
A deed must declare the transferred property’s value—which the current owner and new owner verify in the signed consideration statement.32 The county clerk uses the property’s value listed in the deed to calculate and collect the transfer tax when receiving a deed for recording.33
Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemptions
Kentucky law exempts certain types of deeds from Kentucky’s transfer tax.34 Common exempt deeds include:
- Deeds that transfer property as a gift for nominal consideration;
- Deeds that confirm or correct a previously recorded deed;
- Deeds between married spouses or between former spouses as part of a divorce case;
- Deeds for nominal consideration between parent and child or between grandparent and grandchild;
- Deeds partitioning real estate;
- Deeds relating to mergers, consolidations, or conversions of business entities;
- Deeds connected to foreclosure and deeds in lieu of foreclosure;
- Deeds that transfer property to a business entity in proportion to the transferor’s interest in the entity, if the transfer is for nominal consideration;
- Deeds from a business entity involved in dissolution proceedings to an owner of the entity in proportion to the owner’s interest in the entity;
- Deeds from an LLC to any of its members;
- Deeds from a trustee to a successor trustee; and
- Deeds that transfer property to a trustee or from a trustee to a beneficiary if (a) the transferor is the trust’s sole beneficiary, (b) the transferor is a trust beneficiary and a transfer directly from the trust’s grantor to all of the trust’s beneficiaries would be exempt, or (c) a transfer directly from the trust’s grantor to all of the trust’s individual beneficiaries would be exempt.35
Additional Forms Required with Kentucky Deeds
No separate forms are required when recording a Kentucky deed. A deed may include a separate consideration certificate with the statement of full consideration signed by the current owner and new owner.36 The consideration certificate, when used, is an attachment recorded with the deed.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(5).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(a) and (b).
- See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 392.020.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.110(2).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.110(4).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.120.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.335(4).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(c).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(d).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.335(1).
- See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.050(7).
- See Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 382.130; 382.135(1).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 386B.8-160(25); 275.135.
- See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 457.270.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 392.020.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 382.080; 382.130.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 423.160.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.130.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(c).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(e)(1).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(e)(2).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(3).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 382.135(2)(a)-(2)(f).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.075.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 382.075(1)-(3).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.075(4)(c).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.110(1).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 64.012(1)(a)(1).
- See, e.g., Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.010(1).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.050(2).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.050(1)(b).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 381.050(3)(b); 382.135(1)(e)(1).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.050(3)(a).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 142.050(7)(a)-(7)(o).
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.050(8).
- See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(c).