The Michigan warranty deed is a form of deed that provides an unlimited warranty of title. It makes an absolute guarantee that the current owner has good title to the property. The warranty is not limited to the time that the current owner owned the property. This means that the current owner could be legally responsible for title issues that arose before the current owner acquired the property. In Michigan, warranty deeds are often used:
Special language is required to ensure that the deed qualifies as a warranty deed. This language is automatically included by our deed preparation service and valid in all Michigan counties.
A Michigan warranty deed form is used to transfer Michigan real estate with a full warranty of title. A person who transfers property by warranty deed form guarantees there are no problems with title to the property. This guarantee covers all title issues in the chain of title, including those that arose before the current owner owned the property.
In some states, a warranty deed form is called a general warranty deed to distinguish it from a special warranty deed. Because Michigan law uses covenant deeds instead of special warranty deeds, there is no need to use the term general warranty to distinguish the deed from a special warranty deed.
A Michigan warranty deed provides a full warranty of title. A person who transfers property using a warranty deed form guarantees, known as covenants of title:
These six covenants have historically been used to protect the buyer by assigning liability to the seller. In most real estate sales today, title insurance is used to supplement—and often replace—the protection offered by the six covenants of title.
The full warranty of title provided by a Michigan warranty deed distinguishes that deed form from other deed forms, like quitclaim deeds and covenant deeds.
A Michigan general warranty deed also differs from other deed forms—like traditional life estate deeds and lady bird deeds—that are used to avoid probate in Michigan. These estate planning deeds are named after their probate avoidance feature, which is a separate issue from the warranty of title. Because these terms relate to different features, a deed can be both a life estate deed and a warranty deed.
Warranty deeds are most often used when a buyer is purchasing real estate from an unrelated party. Because the buyer is paying full value for the real estate, the buyer—or the buyer’s attorney or title insurance company—may insist on a warranty deed. Since title insurance is an essential part of most sales, a covenant deed or quitclaim deed may be used instead of a warranty deed. Because warranty deeds place risk on the person who signs the deed, they are rarely used outside of the sale context.
Section 565.151 of the Michigan Compiled Laws authorizes the Michigan warranty deed form. It provides:
That any conveyance of lands worded in substance as follows: “A.B. conveys and warrants to C.D. (here describe the premises) for the sum of (here insert the consideration),” the said conveyance being dated and duly signed, sealed and acknowledged by the grantor, shall be deemed and held to be a conveyance in fee simple to the grantee, his heirs and assigns, with covenant from the grantor for himself and his heirs and personal representatives, that he is lawfully seized of the premises, has good right to convey the same, and guarantees the quiet possession thereof; that the same are free from all incumbrances, and that he will warrant and defend the title to the same against all lawful claims.
This statute provides the required language (“conveys and warrants”) used in a Michigan warranty deed form. But, like other statutory “forms,” it is only a starting point. The statutory language alone does not address other requirements for transferring real estate, including a valid legal description, description of the consideration provides, determination of the manner in which co-owners will hold title, font size and page format requirements, and signature and notarization requirements.
When creating a Michigan warranty deed, it is important to use the correct language. Using incorrect language can create problems on the deed that require court proceedings to resolve. The warranty deeds prepared by our Deed Generator were designed by attorneys to meet the requirements of Michigan law.