A Maine deed filed for recording should be properly formatted and include all information required by law. The register of deeds office charges a recording fee and transfer tax when receiving a deed for recording.
Formatting Standards for Maine Deeds
Maine does not have statutory deed formatting standards, but the Maine Registers of Deeds Association publishes uniform formatting standards observed throughout the state. A deed submitted for recording in Maine should satisfy the criteria below.
Paper, Ink, and Font Size
Maine deeds are printed on 20-pound weight white paper. Pages are ordinarily 8½ × 11 inches (standard letter) and must not exceed 8½ × 14 inches (legal size).1
A deed should be printed using black ink. Signatures are written in black or blue ink. A font used within a deed should be no smaller than 10 points. A deed must be printed with sufficient clarity to allow copying and scanning to electronic format.
A Maine deed should have margins no smaller than the following:
- First page, top margin: 1¾ inch;
- Additional pages, top margin: 1 inch;
- Bottom margins: 1½ inch; and
- Side margins: ¾ inch.
Space for Recording Stamp
A deed must leave sufficient space for the register of deeds to input the recording information.2 The register of deeds may charge $2.00 per page for additional pages necessary for the recording information.
Content Requirements for Maine Deeds
Maine statutes require deed to include the items below to transfer real estate effectively.
Current Owner and New Owner Information
Maine deeds must identify by name the current property owner (the grantor) transferring real estate. 3 A deed must also state the new owner’s name and address—including street and number, municipality, and state.4 Deeds customarily include the marital status of any parties who are natural persons.5
A Maine deed must include a legal description identifying the transferred property. The description should include the name of the city, town, or unincorporated place where the property is situated.6 Deeds often include a reference to a prior deed or survey describing the same property—though that is not strictly required.
A deed must state that the current owner is transferring real estate to the new owner. The precise granting clause varies according to the type of deed and warranty of title (if any) the current owner provides.
An otherwise valid Maine deed need not state any consideration provided for the transfer.7 Maine deeds frequently cite nominal consideration or state that the owner provides the deed “for consideration paid.”
A deed that transfers Maine real estate to two or more new owners should identify the new owners’ co-ownership form. Maine law authorizes tenancy in common and joint tenancy.8
Signing Requirements for Maine Deeds
The current owner transferring real estate or the owner’s authorized agent must sign a Maine deed.9 A signer’s printed or typed name must appear immediately below the signature.10
Power of Attorney
If an agent under power of attorney signs the deed, a power of attorney form that gives the agent authority to sign for the owner must be recorded in the county where the property is located.11
Signatures must be acknowledged before a notary or other authorized officer.12 The certificate of acknowledgment must be included in the deed or recorded as an attachment to the deed.13 Maine provides statutory short-form notary certificates within14
Recording Fees for Maine Deeds
Maine deeds are recorded with the register of deeds for the county where the property is located.15 One of Maine’s counties—Aroostook County—has northern and southern registries.
The register of deeds’ recording fee in most counties is $22.00 for a deed’s first page, plus $3.00 for each additional page.16 The first-page fee consists of a standard $19.00 recording fee and a $3.00 records-preservation surcharge that Maine law allows counties to collect.17
Maine Transfer Tax
Maine charges a transfer tax for recording most deeds transferring Maine real estate.18 Transfer tax must be paid to the register of deeds when recording a deed that is not exempt from the tax.19 The current owner and new owner are each responsible for half the tax amount under Maine law.20
Transfer Tax Rates
Maine’s transfer tax rate is $2.20 for each $500.00 of consideration paid for the real estate.21 Consideration is defined as the total sum paid, or required to be paid, valued in dollars.22 Consideration includes the amount of any mortgages, liens, or encumbrances affecting the property—regardless of whether the new owner assumed the underlying debt. Maine taxes a deed transferring real estate for nominal consideration—defined as less than 20 percent of fair market value—according to the price the property would reasonably cost in an arms-length purchase.23
Real Estate Transfer Tax Declaration
Most Maine deeds must be accompanied by a completed declaration of value (Form RETTD) when filed for recording. The form provides information about the property and parties and calculates transfer tax using the sale price or fair market value. A Form RETTD submitted with an exempt deed must identify the reason for the exemption. Maine TOD deeds do not require a declaration of value.
Transfer Tax Exemptions
Maine exempts 21 categories of recorded documents from transfer tax.24 Common types of deeds that are exempt from Maine’s transfer tax include:
- Deeds that confirm, correct, modify, or supplement a previously recorded deed without consideration and without changing ownership;25
- Deeds between spouses, parent and child, or grandparent and grandchild, or between spouses in divorce proceedings;26
- Deeds created pursuant to a merger or consolidation of business entities if no gain or loss is recognized;27
- Deeds from a subsidiary to a parent corporation for no consideration other than cancellation or surrender of the subsidiary’s stock;28
- Deeds distributing property under the Maine Uniform Trust Code or Maine Probate Code;29
- Deeds to a trustee, nominee, or straw for the grantor as beneficial owner (such as a deed transferring real estate to the owner’s revocable living trust);30
- Deeds to a trustee, nominee, or straw for another person’s benefit if the deed would be exempt if made directly from the grantor to the trust’s beneficiary;31
- Deeds from a trustee to a beneficiary;32
- Deeds from a family business entity to an owner of the entity for no consideration other than an interest in the entity;33
- Deeds transferring real estate under a Maine transfer-on-death deed.34
- 33 M.R.S. § 651.
- 36 M.R.S. § 653.
- 36 M.R.S. § 653.
- 33 M.R.S. § 456.
- See 33 M.R.S § 480.
- 33 M.R.S. § 651.
- 33 M.R.S. § 353-A(1).
- 33 M.R.S. § 159.
- 33 M.R.S. §§ 161; 203; 452.
- 33 M.R.S. § 651-A.
- 33 M.R.S. § 353-A(4).
- 33 M.R.S. § 201.
- 33 M.R.S. § 306.
- 4 M.R.S. § 1016.
- 33 M.R.S. § 201.
- 36 M.R.S. § 751.
- 36 M.R.S. § 752.
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-A(1).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-B(1).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-A(1)(B).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-A(1)(A).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641(1).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641(3).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C.
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(3).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(4).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(7).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(8).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(11)
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(15)(A).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(15)(B).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(15)(C).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(16).
- 36 M.R.S. § 4641-C(21).