Maine Warranty Deed Form
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What is a Maine Warranty Deed Form?
A Maine warranty deed, also referred to as a general warranty deed, is a legal document used to transfer real estate ownership in the state of Maine. A Maine warranty deed provides the highest level of protection to the buyer (grantee), as it guarantees that the seller (grantor) has clear title to the property and has the legal right to sell it. The warranty deed also assures the grantee that the grantor will defend the title against any third-party claims against the property.1 The warranty covers third-party claims based on events that occurred before or during the grantor’s ownership of the property. Maine provides a statutory form for warranty deeds.2
How Warranty of Title Works in Maine
Warranty of title in Maine is a legal assurance provided to the grantee that the grantor has clear and marketable title to the property being conveyed. A deed’s warranty consists of one or more legal promises called covenants that the grantor gives to the grantee. A Maine warranty deed that includes the words “warranty covenants” includes the following covenants made as of the date of the deed:
- The grantor holds complete, lawful title to the property.
- The property is free of all encumbrances not explicitly excluded in the deed.
- The grantor has the right to sell and convey the property to the grantee.
- The grantor will warrant and defend the grantee’s title against lawful claims by any other persons.3
A warranty of title is significant because it provides the grantee with protection against any claims or issues that may arise concerning the property’s title. If a title defect or claim arises, the grantor is legally obligated to defend the title, and the grantee can sue the grantor to recover for any losses or damages that result from the defect or claim.4
Title Insurance and Maine Warranty Deeds
Title insurance is a form of indemnity insurance that protects the buyer (and sometimes the lender) against defects, liens, or encumbrances on the title of a property that were not discovered or disclosed at the time of the purchase. Title insurance comes in two main types: owner’s title insurance and lender’s title insurance. Owner’s title insurance protects the buyer, while lender’s title insurance protects a lender with a mortgage or other interest in the property.
When purchasing a property with a Maine warranty deed, it’s common for buyers to obtain an owner’s title insurance policy. The title insurance company will perform a title search to verify the title’s history and identify any potential issues. If a problem arises with the title after the purchase, the title insurance company will either resolve the issue or compensate the buyer for any financial loss incurred. Title insurance serves as an additional layer of protection for a real estate buyer, ensuring a reliable source of compensation if unforeseen title problems emerge.
Other Names for a Maine Warranty Deed Form
Maine primarily uses the term warranty deed for a deed that provides complete warranty of title. The term general warranty deed applies to the same type of deeds and is commonly used in many states. Some states use different terminology for a similar deed that provides a high level of protection to the buyer. It’s essential to note that the specific provisions and requirements of warranty deeds can vary by state, even if the overall purpose of the document remains the same.
How Do Maine Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
In Maine, there are several types of deeds used to transfer real estate ownership, each offering different levels of protection to the buyer. Comparing a Maine warranty deed to other deeds used in the state, such as a quitclaim deed with covenant and a quitclaim deed without covenant, helps to highlight the distinctions in the warranties provided.
- Maine quitclaim deed with covenant. A Maine quitclaim deed with covenant form is the equivalent of what many other states call a special warranty deed. A quitclaim deed with covenant offers a more limited form of protection to the buyer compared to a warranty deed. The grantor warrants only against title defects or encumbrances that occurred during their ownership of the property, not against any issues that arose before they owned the property. This means the grantor is not responsible for defending the title against claims that predate their ownership.5
- Maine quitclaim deed without covenant. A Maine quitclaim deed without covenant form provides the least protection to the buyer. It transfers whatever interest the grantor has in the property, if any, without any warranties or guarantees about the title or the grantor’s legal right to sell the property. The grantee assumes all risks related to the title and potential claims.
A Maine warranty deed offers the most comprehensive protection to the buyer, followed by a quitclaim deed with covenant (which provides limited warranties), and finally, a quitclaim deed without covenant (which offers no warranties at all). Viewed from the seller’s perspective, the reverse is true regarding risk: A warranty deed assigns the most risk to the seller, followed by a quitclaim deed with covenant, followed by a quitclaim deed without covenant.
Maine Warranty Deeds and Other Maine Deed Forms
In Maine, various types of deeds can be used for estate planning purposes to transfer property ownership and avoid the probate process. Comparing these estate planning deeds with Maine warranty deeds can help illustrate their differences and purposes.
- Maine life estate deed. A life estate deed allows the grantor to retain a lifetime ownership interest in the property and give a beneficiary the right to own the property after the grantor’s death. Upon the grantor’s death, the property passes directly to the beneficiary, avoiding probate. However, the grantor cannot sell, mortgage, or encumber the property without the beneficiary’s consent.6
- Maine transfer-on-death deed. A Maine transfer-on-death deed enables the grantor to name a beneficiary who will receive the property upon the grantor’s death without going through probate. The grantor retains full control of the property during their lifetime and can revoke or change the beneficiary at any time.
Common Uses of Maine Warranty Deed Forms
A warranty deed in Maine is used in various real estate sales due to the high level of protection it offers to the buyer. Some of the typical scenarios where a warranty deed is employed include:
- Buying or selling residential property. When purchasing or selling a home, a warranty deed ensures that the buyer receives a clear and marketable title, with the grantor guaranteeing their legal right to convey the property and defending the title against any future claims.
- Purchasing commercial real estate. Warranty deeds are also used in commercial real estate transactions to provide buyers with the same level of protection as in residential transactions.
- Refinancing a mortgage. When refinancing a mortgage, lenders may require the borrower to execute a warranty deed as part of the process to ensure the lender’s interest in the property is protected.
In each of these situations, a warranty deed is preferred because it provides the buyer with the most comprehensive protection against title defects, liens, or encumbrances, and ensures that the grantor is legally responsible for defending the title against future claims.
How to Create a Maine Warranty Deed Form
As with any deed, a Maine 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 Maine warranty deed form must include the necessary language and provisions required by Maine law. This information includes the grantor’s and grantee’s names, a legal description of the property, and the appropriate warranty language. The grantor must sign the warranty deed in the presence of a notary public. The notary will verify the grantor’s identity and acknowledge the signing by affixing their seal and signature to the document.
To provide public notice of the property transfer and protect the buyer’s interest, the completed and notarized warranty deed should be recorded with the appropriate Maine county’s register of deeds office. There are recording fees for recording a Maine deed. The exact fees vary by county.
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