Missouri real estate is transferred using a legal document called a deed. A deed transfers property from current owner (grantor) to a new owner (grantee). Each Missouri deed must meet the requirements of Missouri law to be valid and eligible for recording.
The deeds created by our online deed preparation service were attorney-designed to be valid and ready for recording in all Missouri counties. We support the following Missouri deed forms:
Three of these deed forms are named after the warranty of title:
- Missouri Warranty Deed Form – A Missouri warranty deed form—also known as a general warranty deed form—provides a general warranty of title that covers all title issues, including those that arose before the grantor owned the property.
- Missouri Special Warranty Deed Form – A Missouri special warranty deed for provides a limited warranty of title that is limited to the period when the grantor owned the property.
- Missouri Quitclaim Deed Form – A Missouri quitclaim deed form provides no warranty of title.
Missouri also recognizes two other types of deeds that are named after features other than the warranty of title:
- Missouri Life Estate Deed Form – A Missouri life estate deed form divides ownership of the property into a lifetime interest (life estate) and an interest that becomes possessory at death (remainder interest). The owner that holds the life estate loses control over the property. He or she cannot deal with the property without the consent of the owners that hold the remainder interest.
- Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form – A Missouri beneficiary deed form—also called a TOD deed form or transfer-on-death deed form—is a newer deed form that transfers property to designated beneficiaries on death. Unlike a life estate deed, a beneficiary deed allows the owner to retain control over the property. The owner can sell the property or change beneficiaries without involving or even notifying the beneficiaries.
Both of these deeds are named after their probate avoidance feature. A life estate deed may also be a quitclaim deed, special warranty deed, or warranty deed, depending on the warranty of title included in the deed.
Missouri Deed Form Requirements
To be valid and eligible for recording, a Missouri deed must meet all requirements of Missouri law. These requirements include:
- The deed must have a three-inch margin on the top of the first page and at least 3/4–inch margins on the bottom and sides of the first page and each other page.
- The deed must list the names of the grantor and grantee and their mailing addresses on the first page.
- The deed must include a legal description on the first page.
- The names of each party that signs the deed must be printed or typed under the signatures.
Unlike many states, Missouri has no real estate transfer tax. The deed must only be accompanied by the recording fees. Recording fees are usually $20 to $25 for the first page and $3 for each additional page.
Spousal Ownership of Missouri Real Estate
Missouri is a separate property state, meaning that each spouse is considered to own all property that is titled in that spouse’s name.
In most separate property states, when real estate is deeded to one spouse, it belongs to that spouse. The other spouse that is not included on the deed does not have an economic interest in the property. Missouri law is different. Under Missouri law, a spouse that is not listed on a deed (called a non-titled spouse) has marital rights in the property. Under Missouri Revised Statute 474.150, a deed by only one spouse without the consent of the other spouse is considered to defraud the other spouse of his or her marital rights. This can be avoided by using a marital rights waiver along with the deed or by having the spouse join in the deed.
Missouri law also protects homestead property from conveyance by only one spouse. Under Missouri Revised Statute 513.475.2, neither spouse can sell the marital homestead without the joinder of the other spouse. This provision is largely moot, however, because of the general requirements that spouses consent to the transfer of all Missouri real estate (not just homestead property).
Forms of Co-Ownership of Missouri Real Estate
Missouri real estate may be deeded to multiple grantees. There are three ways that multiple grantees may take title to the property:
- Tenancy in Common – Each owner has an undivided interest in the property. On the death of one owner, his or her interest passes to his or her probate estate. Probate is generally required to transfer the deceased owner’s interest to his or her heirs or beneficiaries.
- Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship – Each owner has an undivided interest in the property that includes a right of survivorship. On the death of an owner, his or her interest passes to the surviving owners outside of the probate process. Consent of the other owners is not required to convey one owner’s interest in the property. Any owner may transfer his or her interest—and break the joint tenancy—by signing a deed to the property.
- Tenancy by the Entirety – A special form of co-ownership available only to married couples. Like a joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety includes a right of survivorship. On the death of the first spouse to die, the property passes to the surviving spouse outside of probate. But unlike a joint tenancy, neither spouse can convey his or her interest without the other spouse’s consent, and the creditors of only one spouse cannot acquire an interest in the property.
The form of co-ownership for a specific deed will depend on the goals of the parties. Each deed used by our online deed preparation service is attorney-designed to include the language necessary to create any of the three forms of co-ownership.
How to Transfer Missouri Real Estate
Transferring Missouri real estate is a four-step process:
- Locate the Prior Deed to the Property. The prior deed includes important information that is needed to prepare the new deed. This information includes the full legal description of the property and the exact names of all current
- Get a New Deed to the Property. The new deed transfers property from the current owners to the new owners. Our online deed preparation service makes it easy to get a customized, attorney-designed deed to real estate in minutes.
- Sign and Notarize the New Deed. The new deed is not valid unless it is signed by the grantor and notarized as required by Missouri law. If the grantor is married and the spouse is not also listed on the deed, the grantor’s spouse must also join in the conveyance.
- Record the New Deed in the Land Records. The new deed should be recorded in the land records of the county where the property is located as soon as possible after it is signed by the grantor.
This process is explained in more detail in the instructions (Next Steps) assembled by our online deed preparation service. These instructions accompany each deed. Each deed is designed to be eligible for recording in the Missouri county where the property is located.