What Types of Deeds Are Recognized in Mississippi?
A Mississippi property owner can choose among three types of deeds for transferring real estate during the owner’s life. Each deed form offers a different degree of warranty of title—also called covenants of title. Warranty of title is the owner’s guarantee of the quality and status of a transferred property’s title.
Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Form
A Mississippi quitclaim deed form provides no warranty of title.1 The new owner receives whatever interest the current owner possesses with no promises about the title’s validity, its lien status, or any third-party claims on the property.2 The new owner alone bears the risk of problems with the property’s title.
Quitclaim deeds are common for transfers involving no consideration—such as when an owner gives real estate to a close family member or retitles a property without affecting actual control. Mississippi lawyers sometimes call quitclaim deeds release deeds because they can be used to release an owner’s rights in a property to another person. For example, a co-owner might record a quitclaim deed to release his or her interest to a former spouse as part of a divorce.
Mississippi General Warranty Deed Form
A Mississippi warranty deed form—sometimes called a general warranty deed—transfers real estate with complete warranty of title.3 The current owner guarantees a good, clear title subject only to exceptions listed in the deed. A warranty deed places the risk of title problems solely on the current owner.
A purchaser who receives title via warranty deed can sue the former owner for breach of warranty if title problems emerge. For example, a purchaser can recover the purchase price plus interest if he or she loses possession of property to a third party with a superior title.4
Mississippi Special Warranty Deed Form
A Mississippi special warranty deed transfers real estate with a partial warranty of title. The current owner guarantees a good title but limits the guarantee to the time while the current owner held title.5 The warranty does not cover title problems that already existed when the current owner acquired the property. Each party to a special warranty deed therefore bears some of the risk—depending on when an issue arose.
Mississippi special warranty deeds are most commonly used for commercial real estate sales. Some states use the alternate name limited warranty deed due to a special warranty deed’s partial warranty.
Note: Warranty deeds and special warranty deeds help to protect the new owner against financial loss caused by unknown problems with a property’s title. Mississippi property owners can also purchase title insurance to cover financial loss that results from an invalid or clouded title.
What Types of Estate Planning Deeds Are Used in Mississippi?
Deeds designed for estate planning typically transfer ownership when the current owner dies—rather than when the deed is signed and recorded. Estate planning deeds have names based on how they function rather than the warranty of title they provide.
Mississippi Transfer-on-Death Deeds
The Mississippi Legislature adopted the Mississippi Real Property Transfer on Death Act (MRPTDA) effective in 2020.6 The MRPTDA authorizes Mississippi transfer-on-death deeds—or TOD deeds. A property owner creates and records a TOD deed during life, but the has no legal effect until the owner’s death.7 When the owner dies, the real estate automatically transfers to the beneficiary named in the deed—bypassing the probate process.8
An owner who records a TOD deed retains the right to sell, transfer, or mortgage the property—or revoke the deed—as long as the owner is still living.9
Mississippi Life Estate Deed
Mississippi life estate deeds are another means of transferring real estate outside probate when the current owner dies. A Mississippi life estate deed gives ownership to one person (the life tenant) for life and a remainder interest to another person who takes title when the life tenant dies.10 A property owner using a life estate deed in an estate plan typically names him- or herself as life tenant and gives the remainder interest to an heir.
A life estate deed is not revocable. The life tenant can transfer only the life estate and—after recording a life estate deed—gives up the right to sell complete ownership of the property.11
What Are the Ways in Which Multiple Owners Can Jointly Own Mississippi Real Estate?
Mississippi law recognizes several forms of co-ownership with different characteristics. The appropriate form depends on the co-owners’ relationship, goals, and surrounding circumstances.
Tenancy in Common
Co-owners who hold title as tenants in common own separate, independently transferable interests in the property. A tenant in common’s ownership interest is usually defined as a fraction or percentage of the property’s title. For example, two tenants in common might each hold a 50 percent interest in real estate—though the interests do not have to be equal.
Tenancy in common is sometimes called the default co-ownership form because a deed that transfers Mississippi real estate to multiple owners creates a tenancy in common unless it specifies a different form.12 A tenant in common’s interest becomes part of the owner’s probate estate. When the owner dies, the interest passes under the terms of the owner’s will or state law.
Co-owners who hold title as joint tenants mutually share undivided title to real estate. Joint tenancy’s defining characteristic is the right of survivorship shared by the joint tenants. When a joint tenant dies, his or her interest automatically vests in the surviving co-owner. A Mississippi deed that creates a joint tenancy must expressly state that the new owners will be “joint tenants with a right of survivorship.”13
Joint tenancy can be a useful estate planning tool because a deceased joint tenant’s interest does not pass through probate. The surviving owner simply records a survivorship affidavit, which updates the land records to reflect undivided title in the surviving owner.14
Tenancy by the Entirety
Mississippi also recognizes tenancy by the entirety—a form of joint ownership that only married spouses can use.15 Tenancy by the entirety has a right of survivorship like joint tenancy but offers extra protection against creditors. A Mississippi deed that creates a tenancy by the entirety must expressly state that the new owners will hold title “as tenants by the entirety with right of survivorship.”
Real Estate Ownership through Trusts
Mississippi lets two or more persons effectively co-own real estate as beneficiaries of a revocable living trust. To do so, they must first form a trust by creating a written trust instrument with the trust’s terms.17 Then, the current property owner records a deed transferring title to the trustee. The same individuals can be the trust’s co-trustees and beneficiaries—allowing them to retain control of the property while title is in the trust.
What Are the Rules for Spousal Ownership of Mississippi Real Estate?
Mississippi law provides each spouse rights in the other spouse’s property. A married Mississippi property owner should consider spousal property rights and protections when creating a deed or forming an estate plan.
Mississippi Homestead Rights
Mississippi gives a special status to real estate that qualifies as a homestead—defined as a Mississippi property that a head of family owns and occupies as a principal residence.18 A Mississippi deed transferring a married owner’s homestead is valid only if it is signed by both spouses—even if only one spouse holds title.19
Spousal Intestate Share
The surviving spouse of a Mississippi resident who dies intestate—that is, leaves no will—has a right to some or all of the real estate and personal property in the deceased spouse’s estate. If the deceased spouse leaves no surviving children or grandchildren, the surviving spouse’s intestate share is the entire net estate left after paying administrative costs and estate debts. If the deceased spouse leaves surviving children, the surviving spouse and children share the estate in equal parts.20
Spousal Elective Share
Spousal elective share laws are designed to prevent married persons from disinheriting their spouses by will. A deceased Mississippi resident’s surviving spouse has the right to “renounce” the will and instead claim an elective share in the probate estate. The elective share is equal to the intestate share the surviving spouse otherwise would have received—except that it cannot exceed one-half of the deceased spouse’s estate.21
Where Are Deeds Filed in Mississippi?
Each Mississippi county has a chancery clerk charged with maintaining the county’s land records. A person who wants to record a Mississippi deed files the deed with the chancery clerk for the county where the property is located.22
Ten of Mississippi’s counties are divided into two recording districts.23 A deed that involves real estate in a two-district county must be recorded in the correct district. Counties with two districts and the district locations are as follows:
- Bolivar (Rosedale and Cleveland);
- Carroll (Carrollton and Vaiden);
- Chickasaw (Houston and Okolona);
- Harrison (Gulfport and Biloxi);
- Hinds (Jackson and Raymond);
- Jasper (Paulding and Bay Springs);
- Jones (Ellisville and Laurel);
- Panola (Sardis and Batesville);
- Tallahatchie (Charleston and Sumner); and
- Yalobusha (Coffeeville and Water Valley).
A recorded Mississippi deed provides constructive notice of the transaction to third parties such as creditors and future purchasers.24
Does Mississippi Allow Electronic Recording?
The Mississippi Legislature has adopted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording—which authorizes counties to accept electronically filed deeds.25 A deed in electronic form with an electronic signature that complies with the statute’s requirements qualifies as an original, signed deed.26 Not all Mississippi counties have implemented electronic recording. Counties that accept deeds electronically must also continue to accept deeds filed in paper format.27
What Is the Cost to File a Mississippi Deed?
Chancery clerks charge a standard recording fee of $25.00 for a deed’s first five pages and $1.00 per page for any pages beyond five.28 Some counties charge an additional $1.00 archiving fee for recording a deed. A clerk who records a deed that does not satisfy Mississippi’s formatting standards can charge an additional recording fee of $10.00.29
Does Mississippi Charge a Transfer Tax for Real Estate Transfers?
Mississippi is among the minority of states that have no transfer tax or deed tax on real estate transfers
Does Mississippi Require Any Additional Forms When Recording a Deed?
Mississippi does not require a return or other disclosure with a deed filed for recording. Some states require the current owner or new owner to submit a form that states the property value or consideration to calculate property or transfer taxes.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-37.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-39.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-33.
- Allen v. Miller, 99 Miss. 75, 54 So.731 (Miss. 1910).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-35.
- Miss. Code §§ 91-27-101, et seq.
- Miss. Code § 91-27-17.
- Miss. Code § 91-27-13.
- Miss. Code § 91-27-23.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-9.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-17.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-7.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-7.
- Miss. Code § 89-5-8(1).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-7.
- Shepherd v. Shepherd, 336 So.2d 497 (Miss. 1976).
- Miss. Code § 91-8-407.
- Miss. Code § 27-33-3(1).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-29.
- Miss. Code § 91-1-7.
- Miss. Code § 91-5-25.
- Miss. Code § 89-5-25(1).
- See Miss. Code § 89-5-41.
- Miss. Code § 89-5-3.
- Miss. Code §§ 89-5-101, et seq.
- Miss. Code § 89-5-105.
- Miss. Code § 89-5-107(4).
- Miss. Code § 25-7-9(1)(b).
- Miss. Code § 89-5-24(4).