Minnesota Deed Forms for Real Estate Transfers

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What Types of Deeds Are Recognized in Minnesota?

Minnesota recognizes three basic types of deeds for transferring title to real estate to a new owner during the current owner’s life. Each of the three types offers a different level of warranty of title—the current owner’s assurance regarding the validity and status of the transferred title.

Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Form

A Minnesota quitclaim deed form offers no warranty of title. The current owner does not guarantee that the property’s title is clear or that the quitclaim deed transfers a valid title. The new owner receives all rights, title, and interest the current owner holds in the real estate as of the date in the deed.1 Any problems with the title—such as undisclosed liens, boundary disputes, or adverse third-party claims—are the new owner’s responsibility. The current owner bears no risk, and the new owner cannot sue for breach of warranty if a quitclaim deed transfers a defective title.

Minnesota quitclaim deeds are a common choice for transfers involving no consideration—or value given in exchange—from the new owner. For example, a property owner might use a quitclaim deed to add a spouse to a deed, transfer property as a gift, or release rights in real estate under a divorce decree.

Minnesota General Warranty Deed Form

A Minnesota warranty deed form is the opposite of a quitclaim deed in terms of warranty of title. A property owner who signs a warranty deed provides complete warranty of title—guaranteeing a good, clear title subject only to exceptions listed in the deed.2 The current owner bears all risk of title problems. The new owner can sue for breach of warranty to recover financial damages caused by problems with the property’s title—such as undisclosed liens.3

Minnesota warranty deeds typically transfer real estate to an arms-length purchaser acquiring property for fair market value. Residential property purchasers often take title under warranty deeds.

Minnesota Limited Warranty Deed Form

A Minnesota limited warranty deed form splits the difference between a quitclaim deed and a warranty deed. The current owner guarantees a good, clear title, but the guarantee covers only title problems that occurred while the current owner held title. Issues from before the current owner took title are outside the scope of a limited warranty deed’s warranty. The result is that the current owner and new owner share the risk of title problems—each party bears part of the risk depending on when a title problem arose.

Commercial real estate purchases are the most common setting for Minnesota limited warranty deeds.

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What Types of Estate Planning Deeds Are Used in Minnesota?

Estate planning deeds let a property owner arrange for real estate to transfer outside probate when the owner dies. Estate planning deeds have names based on how they work rather than their warranties.

Minnesota Transfer-on-Death Deed Form

A Minnesota transfer-on-death deed form—commonly called a TOD deed—names a beneficiary who will receive real estate when the current owner dies.4 A property owner records a TOD deed during life, but the beneficiary receives no enforceable rights in the property until the owner’s death.5 Minnesota TOD deeds are fully revocable while the owner remains living.6 The owner retains the same right to sell or mortgage the property.

Minnesota Life Estate Deed

A Minnesota life estate deed works like a TOD deed but with an important difference. Life estate deeds create two ownership interests in the same property.

  • The life estate gives the holder—or life tenant—ownership until his or her death.
  • The remainder gives the holder the right to the property after the life tenant dies.7

A property owner creating a life estate deed for an estate plan often reserves the life estate to him- or herself and gives the remainder to a family member the owner wants to receive the property when the owner dies.

The biggest practical difference between a life estate deed and a TOD deed is that a life estate deed’s remainder interest is an enforceable right to future possession. A life tenant cannot sell or transfer complete ownership—just the life estate—because the remainder survives a transfer of the life estate to a third party.8

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In states that recognize them, transfer-on-death-deeds (sometimes called beneficiary deeds) are popular probate avoidance tools. Our TOD deed creation service makes it easy to create one. Click the link below to get started.

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What Are the Ways in Which Multiple Owners Can Jointly Own Minnesota Real Estate?

Minnesota recognizes two forms of co-ownership: tenancy in common and joint tenancy.9

Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in common is the default method for multiple owners to hold title.10 A tenancy in common’s co-owners—called tenants in common or co-tenants—have separate interests that they can transfer independently. The interest goes through probate when the co-owner dies—unless the co-owner has recorded a TOD deed to transfer the interest. A tenant in common’s interest is usually a fraction or percentage.

Joint Tenancy

Joint tenancy is defined by the right of survivorship shared by the co-owners—or joint tenants. A deceased joint tenant’s interest vests in a surviving joint tenant and does not go through probate. A surviving joint tenant records the deceased co-owner’s death certificate and an affidavit of survivorship.11 The recorded affidavit updates the land records to show that the survivor holds complete title.12

Joint tenants hold title mutually—rather than in separate, fractional interests. A deed must state that multiple new owners take title “as joint tenants with right of survivorship” or include similar phrasing to create a joint tenancy.13

Tenancy by the Entirety

Minnesota does not recognize tenancy by the entirety—a co-ownership form available only to married spouses in states that recognize it.

Real Estate Ownership through Trusts

Two or more people can effectively co-own Minnesota real estate as beneficiaries of a revocable living trust. Minnesota trust law allows a trust’s beneficiaries to also be the trust’s co-trustees.14 This lets them share possession and control of the property while the trust holds title.

A deed transferring Minnesota real estate to a trust typically transfers title to the trustee, notes that the trustee is acting as trustee, and identifies the trust by name and date.15 Recording a certificate of trust with the deed is a good practice to avoid uncertainty over the trustee’s authority.16

What Are the Rules for Spousal Ownership of Minnesota Real Estate?

Minnesota has special rules for real estate titled to one or both married spouses. A surviving spouse’s strong inheritance rights in Minnesota can also affect how a property owner holds title or designs an estate plan.

Minnesota Homestead Rights

Real estate that qualifies as a homestead—which generally means it is the owner’s principal residence—has a preferred legal status in Minnesota. A deed that transfers title to a married owner’s homestead is not valid unless it has both spouses’ signatures—even if only one spouse holds title.17 Failure to include a spouse’s signature can cause problems with a property’s chain of title and make selling the property more difficult.

Spousal Intestate Share

A spouse’s intestate share is the portion of a deceased spouse’s estate the surviving spouse inherits if the deceased spouse leaves no will.18 The spousal intestate share in Minnesota is the entire estate if the deceased spouse has no living descendants—i.e., children or grandchildren. The surviving spouse also receives the entire estate if all living descendants of either spouse are descendants of both spouses. The spousal intestate share is $225,000 and half of the balance if at least one spouse has a living descendant not descended from the other spouse.

Spousal Elective Share

A spousal elective share is an alternative inheritance a surviving spouse can claim in lieu of the share under the deceased spouse’s will. The spousal elective share in Minnesota is between 3 and 50 percent.19 The percentage is based on the length of the marriage. Minnesota calculates the elective share amount using the deceased spouse’s augmented estate—which includes probate and some non-probate assets.20

Where Are Deeds Filed in Minnesota?

Each Minnesota county has a county recorder’s office that maintains the county’s land records. Deeds and other documents that require recording are filed with the county recorder for the county where the property is located.21 Some counties call the office the recorder of titles.

An unrecorded deed is ineffective against a later good-faith purchaser who pays fair market value for the property and records a deed first.22

What Is Minnesota’s Torrens System?

Records for the majority of Minnesota properties are in the regular recording system—called the abstract system—that works like recording systems in most other states. Minnesota has a second recording system—called the Torrens system or land court system—for registered properties.23 If a property is registered in Minnesota’s Torrens system, the most recent deed’s document number begins with a T.

Real estate is registered in the Torrens system through a court’s official recognition and certification of the property’s title. Registration in the Torrens system is conclusive proof that the registered owner listed on the property’s certificate of title owns the property free of liens and adverse claims not identified on the certificate of title.24

The county registrar maintains Torrens system land records under the district court’s supervision. The registrar is usually the county recorder or a deputy or other employee of the county recorder’s office.

Does Minnesota Allow Electronic Recording?

The Minnesota Legislature authorized electronic recording of deeds by enacting the Minnesota Real Property Electronic Recording Act.25 Standards for electronic deeds are established by the Electronic Real Estate Recording Commission.26 An electronic deed with an electronic signature that meet legal requirements is an original, signed document under Minnesota’s recording laws.27

Nearly every Minnesota County is set up for e-recording. County recorders accept e-recorded deeds through one or more third-party vendors. E-recording may require additional charges and is not available for Torrens system real estate in many counties.

What Is the Cost to File a Minnesota Deed?

Minnesota charges a flat fee of $46.00 to record a deed.28 A deed that cross-references more than four other recorded documents requires an additional $10.00 fee for each document referenced over four.

A deed that requires a well disclosure certificate requires an additional $50.00 fee for filing the well disclosure.29

Does Minnesota Charge a Transfer Tax for Real Estate Transfers?

Minnesota charges a transfer tax—called deed tax—on deeds transferring title to real estate.30 Minnesota’s deed tax is calculated based on the consideration for the transfer. The rate for most transfers is 0.33 percent of the purchase price.31 Minnesota law authorizes Hennepin and Ramsey Counties to charge an additional .01 percent of consideration.32

A deed’s consideration when calculating deed tax is the total monetary value given for the property. It includes lump-sum or installment payments and the value of any non-cash property given for the real estate.33

Deed tax is due when a deed is presented for recording.34 The seller is responsible for paying the tax.35 The tax is paid to the county treasurer—who then stamps the deed as proof of payment.36

How Is Deed Tax Calculated for Deeds without Consideration?

Minnesota charges a fixed deed tax amount of $1.65 for the following transactions that involve little or no consideration or that qualify as “designated transfers”:37

  • Deeds involving consideration of $3,000.00 or less;
  • Deeds created pursuant to business consolidations or mergers;
  • Deeds between a revocable trust and the trust’s grantor;
  • Deeds between a single-owner entity and its owner;
  • Deeds between an entity owned by married spouses and one or both spouses;
  • Deeds between an entity with multiple owners and all of the co-owners as long as the ownership percentages remain the same; and
  • Deeds transferring substantially all of an entity’s assets pursuant to a reorganization.

What Is Minnesota’s Agricultural Preservation Fee?

Certain Minnesota counties charge an additional $5.00 agricultural preservation fee for recording deeds.38 The preservation fee is added to the deed tax amount. The 10 counties that charge an agricultural preservation fee are Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Waseca, Washington, Winona, and Wright.

Which Deeds Are Exempt from Minnesota’s Deed Tax?

Minnesota’s deed tax law lists 15 categories of recorded documents that are exempt from deed tax.39 Common examples of exempt deeds include:

  • Deeds transferring real estate to or from the United States or a federal government agency;40
  • Deeds conveying cemetery lots;41
  • Deeds of distribution issued by an estate’s personal representative (i.e., a personal representative’s deed);42
  • Deeds relating to mortgage or lien foreclosure proceedings;43
  • Deeds granting, creating, modifying, or terminating an easement;44
  • Deeds between the parties to a divorce under terms of the divorce decree;45 and
  • Transfer-on-death deeds.46

Deeds recorded in connection with a business entity’s conversion to a new structure—such as a corporation’s conversion to an LLC—do not require payment of deed tax.47

Does Minnesota Require Any Additional Forms When Recording a Deed?

Minnesota requires submission of the following forms with a deed at the time of recording.

Certificate of Real Estate Value (eCRV)

A completed certificate of real estate value is required for deeds transferring real estate for consideration over $3,000.00.48 An eCRV is not required if consideration is under $3,000.00 or if the deed qualifies as a “designated transfer” under49 To avoid the eCRV requirement, deeds considered designated transfers must state that the transaction is a designated transfer on the deed’s first page or signature page.

Designated transfers are:

  • Deeds between a revocable trust and the trust’s grantor;
  • Deeds between a single-owner entity and its owner;
  • Deeds between an entity owned by married spouses and one or both spouses;
  • Deeds between an entity with multiple owners and all of the co-owners as long as the ownership percentages remain the same; and
  • Deeds transferring substantially all of an entity’s assets pursuant to a reorganization.

The eCRV form must be submitted electronically on the Department of Revenue website before the deed is filed for recording. The current owner, new owner, or authorized agent can submit the form. The county recorder verifies that the form has been filed before accepting a deed for recording.50

Well Disclosure Certificate (WDC)

Minnesota law requires a real estate seller to provide the buyer written disclosure of the location and status of wells on the real estate.51 The disclosure must include the property’s legal description and county. It must also include a sketch map showing the location of any wells or a statement that the property has no wells.

A well disclosure certificate must be filed with the county recorder if the deed requires a certificate of real estate value. There is a $50.00 fee for filing the WDC with the county recorder.

A WDC is not required if the property has no wells or if a disclosure was previously recorded for the property and the number and status of wells has not changed. In either case, the deed must include a certification stating that:

I am familiar with the property described in this instrument and I certify that the status and number of wells on the described real property have not changed since the last previously filed well disclosure certificate.


The Seller certifies that the Seller does not know of any wells on the described real property.

The Minnesota Department of Health publishes a Well Disclosure Certificate form, and the form may also be submitted online through the Department of Health website.

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  1. MN Stat. § 507.06.
  2. MN Stat. § 507.07.
  3. MN Stat. § 507.21.
  4. MN Stat. § 507.071.
  5. MN Stat. §§ 507.071.8; 507.071.2.
  6. MN Stat. § 507.071.10.
  7. See MN Stat. § 500.11.
  8. MN Stat. § 500.15.
  9. MN Stat. § 500.19.
  10. MN Stat. § 500.19.3.
  11. MN Stat. §§ 508.71.5; 507.29.
  12. MN Stat. § 600.21.
  13. MN Stat. § 500.19.2.
  14. See MN Stat. § 501C.0402.
  15. MN Stat. §§ 507.35; 507.421.
  16. See MN Stat. § 501C-1013.
  17. MN Stat. § 507.02.
  18. MN Stat. § 524.2-102.
  19. MN Stat. § 524.2-202.
  20. MN Stat. § 524.2-203.
  21. MN Stat. § 507.34.
  22. MN Stat. § 507.34.
  23. MN Stat. §§ 508.01, et seq.
  24. MN Stat. § 508.25.
  25. MN Stat. §§ 507.0941, et seq.
  26. MN Stat. § 507.24.2(b).
  27. MN Stat. §§ 507.0943(a) and (b).
  28. MN Stat. § 357.18.1.
  29. MN Stat. § 103I.235.1(h).
  30. MN Stat. § 287.21.
  31. MN Stat. § 287.21(b).
  32. MN Stat. § 287.223.
  33. MN Stat. § 287.20.2(a).
  34. MN Stat. § 287.21(c).
  35. MN Stat. § 287.24.
  36. MN Stat. §§ 287.25; 287.08(a).
  37. MN Stat. §§ 287.20.3(a); 287.21(b).
  38. MN Stat. § 40A.152.1.
  39. MN Stat. §§ 287.22(1)-(15).
  40. MN Stat. § 287.22(6).
  41. MN Stat. § 287.22(7).
  42. MN Stat. § 287.22(8).
  43. MN Stat. §§ 287.22(11)-(12).
  44. MN Stat. § 287.22(13).
  45. MN Stat. § 287.22(14).
  46. MN Stat. § 287.22(15).
  47. MN Stat. § 287.21(a).
  48. MN Stat. § 272.115.
  49. MN Stat. § 287.20.3(a).
  50. MN Stat. § 287.241.2.
  51. MN Stat. § 103I.235.