Kentucky Warranty Deed Form

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What is a Kentucky General Warranty Deed Form?

A Kentucky warranty deed form, also known as a general warranty deed, is a legal document used to transfer real estate in the state of Kentucky. A warranty deed form provides the most comprehensive protection to the grantee (buyer) because the grantor (seller) guarantees that the property title is free from any defects or encumbrances, not only during their ownership but also extending back to previous owners. In essence, the grantor warrants that they have the legal right to sell the property and will defend the grantee’s title against any lawful claims that may arise. Kentucky authorizes warranty deeds by statute.1

How Warranty of Title Works in Kentucky

A warranty of title in Kentucky refers to the assurances and guarantees provided by a grantor to a grantee regarding the status of the property’s title. In the context of a Kentucky warranty deed, the warranty of title represents the grantor’s commitment to protect the grantee against any defects, liens, or encumbrances that may affect the title, regardless of when they originated.

A Kentucky warranty deed typically says that the grantor transfers the property “with warranty” or “with general warranty.”2 A grantor signing a Kentucky warranty deed ordinarily makes five covenants (or legal promises) to the grantee:

  1. Covenant of seisin. The grantor legally owns the property.
  2. Covenant of the right to convey. The grantor has the authority to sell the property and transfer the title to the grantee.
  3. Covenant of freedom from encumbrances. The property is free from any liens, mortgages, or other third-party claims that could jeopardize the grantee’s ownership.
  4. Covenant of quiet enjoyment. The grantee will be able to use and enjoy the property without interference from third parties asserting a superior title claim.
  5. Covenant of warranty. The grantor pledges to defend the grantee’s title against any lawful claims and to compensate the grantee for any losses resulting from a breach of the warranty.3

These covenants provide a high level of protection to the grantee, making Kentucky warranty deeds a preferred choice for many buyers when purchasing real estate.

Other Names for a Kentucky General Warranty Deed Form

While the term warranty deed is widely used across the United States, some states may use different names for a deed that provides a full warranty of title. These deeds are also referred to as general warranty deeds to differentiate them from other deeds with limited warranties (like a limited warranty deed or special warranty deed).

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

In Kentucky, there are various types of deeds used for transferring real estate, each offering different levels of protection to the grantee. The main types of deeds used in Kentucky, apart from the warranty deed, are the special warranty deed and the quitclaim deed.

  • Kentucky special warranty deed. A Kentucky special warranty deed form offers a more limited warranty of title than a warranty deed. The grantor only warrants that they have not encumbered the property during their ownership and does not provide any guarantees related to previous owners.4 This type of deed is less protective for the grantee compared to a general warranty deed but offers more protection than a quitclaim deed.
  • Kentucky quitclaim deed. A Kentucky quitclaim deed form offers the least amount of protection to the grantee. The grantor makes no warranties or guarantees about the title and merely transfers whatever interest they may have in the property. The grantee assumes all risks associated with potential defects, liens, or encumbrances on the title.

These deed types establish a hierarchy of protection. A warranty deed offers the most comprehensive protection, followed by a special warranty deed, while a quitclaim deed provides the least protection. Conversely, a warranty deed places the most risk on the grantor, followed by a special warranty deed, while the quitclaim deed places the least amount of risk on the grantor.

Kentucky General Warranty Deeds and Other Kentucky Deed Forms

Estate planning involves the transfer of assets, including real estate, to designated beneficiaries upon the owner’s death, usually with a goal of avoiding probate. In Kentucky, various types of deeds can be used for estate planning purposes, each serving different functions and offering distinct advantages. The main type of deed used for estate planning in Kentucky is a life estate deed.

A Kentucky life estate deed allows a property owner to reserve ownership of the property for life and transfer the property to a designated beneficiary (remainderman) when the owner dies.5 The property is transferred to the remainder beneficiary automatically without the need for probate. Life estate deeds are typically irrevocable after they are signed, and the owner’s right to transfer or mortgage the property is limited unless the remainder beneficiary consents.

Kentucky Transfer-on-Death Deeds

In states that recognize them, a transfer-on-death deed (TOD deed) is a revocable deed that allows the property owner to designate one or more beneficiaries who will receive the property upon the owner’s death, without going through probate. Kentucky does not recognize transfer-on-death deeds.

Common Uses of Kentucky General Warranty Deed Forms

A warranty deed is commonly used in Kentucky for various real estate transactions, primarily because it offers the most comprehensive protection for the grantee. Some common uses for a warranty deed in Kentucky include:

  • Purchasing a new home. When buying a new home, a warranty deed provides the buyer with the highest level of protection, as it guarantees a clear title and ensures that the grantor will defend against any title defects or claims that may arise.
  • Real estate transactions involving financing. Mortgage lenders often require a warranty deed to protect their interests in the property. The warranty deed ensures that the property’s title is clear and free of defects, reducing the risk to the lender.
  • Commercial property transactions. In commercial real estate transactions, warranty deeds are often used to provide buyers with maximum protection against potential title defects and to reduce the risk of future legal disputes.

For transfers outside of the sale context—such as transfers among family members or to a living trust—a quitclaim deed is usually used instead of a warranty deed. A quitclaim deed reflects the fact that the grantor is not receiving anything of value for the property and therefore does not want to be liable for unknown title problems.

How to Create a Kentucky General Warranty Deed Form

As with any deed, a Kentucky 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.

A Kentucky warranty deed form must meet all Kentucky recording requirements and include all necessary information—such as the grantor’s and grantee’s names and addresses, the legal description of the property, and any exceptions or reservations. A warranty deed must have the specific language required for a general warranty in Kentucky, which guarantees a clear title and protects the grantee against any title defects or claims.

The grantor must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public. The notary public will verify the identity of the grantor, witness the signature, and affix a 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. § 382.030.
  2. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.030.
  3. Ralston v. Thacker, 932 S.W.2d 384 (Ky. Ct. App., 1996).
  4. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.040.
  5. Ky. Stat. Rev. § 381.090.