Massachusetts Warranty Deed Form
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What is a Massachusetts Warranty Deed Form?
A Massachusetts warranty deed is a legal document used to transfer real estate ownership from one party (grantor) to another (grantee). In Massachusetts, a warranty deed provides the grantee with the highest level of protection among all types of deeds because it includes a complete warranty of title. This means that the grantor guarantees that he or she has clear title to the property, and there are no liens, adverse third-party interests, or other encumbrances that impair the property’s title. The grantor also agrees to defend the grantee’s ownership rights if any title problems are discovered.1
Warranty deeds are the most common type of deed used for sales of residential real estate in Massachusetts because they offer the greatest protection to the buyer. Massachusetts law provides recommended statutory language for warranty deeds.2
How Warranty of Title Works in Massachusetts
A warranty of title is a guarantee provided by the grantor (seller) in a warranty deed. The seller’s guarantee is made up of the following covenants—or legal promises:
- The seller holds complete title to the property.
- The property is free from liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances.
- The seller has the legal right to transfer ownership to the new owner.
- The seller will stand behind the property’s title and defend the transferred title against legal claims brought by third parties.3
In Massachusetts, these covenants provide the grantee with a high level of protection in case any issues arise concerning the property’s title. If a title problem is discovered after the transfer, the grantor is responsible for defending the grantee’s ownership rights and may be liable for damages the problem causes the grantee.4 Buyers prefer warranty deeds in Massachusetts real estate sale sales, as they provide buyers with the greatest assurance of a clear and marketable title.
Massachusetts Title Insurance and Warranty Deeds
Title insurance protects the policyholder, typically the buyer or lender in a real estate transaction, from financial loss due to defects in the title or undiscovered liens and encumbrances on the property. Title insurance is often used in conjunction with warranty deeds to provide an additional layer of protection for the grantee. In a Massachusetts real estate transaction involving a warranty deed, a title insurance policy provides a reliable source of compensation for losses caused by title problems that are not discovered during the title search. If a title defect arises after the transfer of property, the title insurance company will defend the policyholder’s rights and cover the costs associated with resolving the issue, up to the policy limit.
Other Names for a Massachusetts Warranty Deed Form
In other states, the document that is called a warranty deed in Massachusetts may be referred to by different names. Some common names for this type of deed in other states include general warranty deed or full warranty deed. This terminology generally conveys the same concept: a deed that provides the grantee with a warranty of title.
How Do Massachusetts Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
In Massachusetts, warranty deeds provide the highest level of protection and guarantees to the grantee compared to other types of deeds. Massachusetts has two other common deed types that provide a grantee less protection than a warranty deed: quitclaim deeds and release deeds.
- Massachusetts quitclaim deed form. A Massachusetts quitclaim deed form is the equivalent of what other states call a special warranty deed or a limited warranty deed. A quitclaim deed transfers property with quitclaim covenants—which provides a limited warranty of title. The limited warranty protects the new owner, but the protection extends only to the period during which the grantor owned the property. The grantor guarantees that no title problems arose while the grantor held title, but makes no promises about issues that may have arisen before that time.
- Massachusetts release deed form. A Massachusetts release deed form (also called a deed of quitclaim and release) offers the least protection to the grantee. A release deed transfers whatever interest the grantor may have in the property (if any) with no guarantee about the title. The grantee assumes the risk of title issues, and the grantor has no obligation to defend the grantee’s title in case of a future claim. Massachusetts release deeds are essentially what other states call quitclaim deeds.
Massachusetts Warranty Deeds and Other Massachusetts Deed Forms
The purpose of a Massachusetts warranty deed is to transfer real estate ownership with a complete warranty of title. Other Massachusetts deeds are primarily designed to avoid probate. A Massachusetts life estate deed allows the grantor to keep a lifetime interest in the property and transfer to a beneficiary the right to own the property when the grantor dies.5 Upon the grantor’s death, the property automatically passes to the beneficiary without going through probate. A life estate deed may be prepared with or without warranties, depending on the specific circumstances and the grantor’s preferences.
Massachusetts Transfer-on-Death Deed
Massachusetts does not currently recognize transfer-on-death deeds, a type of deed that allows the grantor to designate a beneficiary who will receive the property upon the grantor’s death without going through probate. Instead, individuals in Massachusetts may utilize living trusts, life estate deeds, or other estate planning tools to achieve similar objectives.
Common Uses of Massachusetts Warranty Deed Forms
Warranty deeds in Massachusetts are commonly used in real estate sales, as they offer the grantee the highest level of protection regarding the property title. Warranty deeds are the preferred choice in most sales of residential properties, as homebuyers and mortgage lenders require a clear title and ownership rights that are protected from future claims. In some cases, a warranty deed may be used to transfer real property between spouses as part of a divorce settlement, ensuring that the receiving spouse has a clear title to the property.
How to Create a Massachusetts Warranty Deed Form
As with any deed, a Massachusetts 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 warranty deed should meet all Massachusetts deed requirements and include essential information, such as the names of the grantor and grantee, the property’s legal description, the consideration (usually the purchase price), and the warranties being provided by the grantor.
A warranty deed must also contain language that clearly demonstrates the grantor’s intent to convey the property with a complete warranty. Under Massachusetts law, a deed that says that the grantor transfers the property “with warranty covenants” is a warranty deed and provides a complete warranty of title.6
The grantor must sign the warranty deed in the presence of a notary public, who will then notarize the document to confirm the grantor’s identity and the signature’s authenticity. Once the warranty deed has been signed, it should be recorded with the appropriate registry of deeds in the county where the property is located. Recording the deed provides public notice of the property transfer and protects the grantee’s ownership rights against subsequent claims or conveyances.
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