Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Form

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What Is a Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Form?

A Kentucky special warranty deed is a legal document used to transfer real estate in the state of Kentucky. Unlike a general warranty deed, which provides the broadest protection to the buyer, a special warranty deed offers limited warranties. The grantor (the person transferring the property) only warrants against title defects and encumbrances that may have arisen during their ownership of the property. This means that the grantor does not provide any assurances for issues that may have occurred before they took ownership of the property. Kentucky law provides specific language that makes a deed a special warranty deed.1

What Is Warranty of Title?

A warranty of title in Kentucky is a legally binding assurance provided by the grantor that they have a valid title to the property being transferred and that the title is free from any defects or encumbrances, except those explicitly disclosed in the deed.2 A warranty of title offers protection to the buyer by guaranteeing a good and marketable title to the property. If a defect or encumbrance arises later, the buyer can hold the grantor liable for damages.

Other Names for a Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Form

The term special warranty deed is widely recognized and used in many states across the United States. However, some states use alternate names for this type of deed, such as limited warranty deed or grant deed. While the terminology may vary, the concept of a deed that provides limited warranties is generally consistent across jurisdictions.

How Do Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?

In Kentucky, there are three primary types of deeds: general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quitclaim deeds. Each type of deed provides different levels of protection to the grantee. A Kentucky special warranty deed serves as a compromise between a warranty deed’s complete protection and a quitclaim deed’s absence of protection.

  • Kentucky general warranty deed form. A Kentucky general warranty deed form offers the broadest protection, as the grantor warrants against all title defects and encumbrances, including those that may have arisen before the grantor’s ownership. The grantor is responsible for defending the title against any title problems that arise and are not expressly excluded from the deed’s warranty.
  • Kentucky quitclaim deed form. A Kentucky quitclaim deed form offers the least protection, as the grantor does not provide any warranties of title. With a quitclaim deed, the buyer assumes all risks associated with the property’s title.

Kentucky Title Insurance and Special Warranty Deeds

Title insurance is a form of insurance policy that protects against financial losses due to defects in the title or undiscovered liens and encumbrances on the property. When a buyer receives a Kentucky special warranty deed, title insurance can offer additional protection against potential title issues that may not be covered by the limited warranties provided in the deed. Title insurance companies will typically perform a thorough title search before issuing a policy to identify and address any potential issues.

Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Forms and Other Kentucky Deeds Used in Estate Planning

In Kentucky, estate planning often involves the use of various types of deeds to transfer property ownership or manage the distribution of real estate upon the grantor’s death without the need for probate. In Kentucky, the most common estate planning deed is a life estate deed.

A life estate deed allows the grantor to transfer future property ownership to a beneficiary, called the remainderman, upon the grantor’s death, while retaining a lifetime ownership interest in the property.3 A life estate deed ensures a smooth transfer of property upon the grantor’s death without going through probate. An owner who creates a life estate deed can sell or transfer complete ownership of the property only with the remainder beneficiary’s consent.

Kentucky Transfer-on-Death Deeds

In states that recognize them, a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed is a revocable deed that allows the grantor to name a beneficiary who will receive the property upon the grantor’s death, bypassing probate. The grantor retains full ownership rights during their lifetime and can change or revoke the beneficiary designation at any time. Kentucky has not enacted a transfer-on-death deed act, so transfer-on-death deeds are not available in Kentucky.

Common Uses of Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Forms

A special warranty deed in Kentucky is commonly used in situations when a grantor is not fully confident in the property’s title history but still wants to provide some title warranty to the grantee. It is most often used in the sale context, when the buyer is paying for the property and demands some assurance that the title is valid. A Kentucky special warranty deed form may also be used when a property is transferred by a fiduciary, such as an executor or trustee, who may not have complete knowledge of the property’s title history. It can also be used to transfer property to a living trust.

How to Create a Kentucky Special Warranty Deed

As with any deed, a Kentucky special warranty deed should be customized to reflect the specific terms and conditions of the transaction. Reliance on fill-in-the-blank forms can lead to invalid documents and future title issues.

The special warranty deed should meet all Kentucky recording requirements and include essential information such as the names and addresses of the grantor and grantee, the legal description of the property, and the consideration (usually the purchase price). The deed should also include specific language limiting the warranty of title to the time the grantor owned the property.

The grantor must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public, who will notarize the document, verifying the grantor’s identity and the voluntary nature of the transaction. The notary public will witness the signature and affix the notarial seal to the deed. After the deed has been executed and notarized, it should be recorded with the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. Recording the deed provides constructive notice of the transaction and helps protect the grantee’s interests in the property.

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  1. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.040.
  2. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.030.
  3. Ky. Stat. Rev. § 381.090.