Missouri Deed Requirements
To be valid and eligible for recording, a Missouri deed must meet all of Missouri’s legal requirements for deeds. Missouri’s requirements address formatting, content, and signing standards for deeds that affect title to Missouri real estate.
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Formatting Standards for Missouri Deeds
Missouri formatting standards deal with the arrangement and format of deeds. A deed that does not satisfy Missouri’s formatting specifications may be refused by the recorder or subject to an additional $25.00 fee.1 Missouri deeds must meet the following formatting requirements:
Missouri deeds must be printed on white or light-colored paper sized 8½ × 11 inches (standard letter size)—with print appearing on only one side. Paper must be at least 20-pound weight, without watermarks, and only include print on one side. No attachments should be stapled or otherwise affixed to the deed document unless required by statute.2 A firmly attached label with a bar code or return address is acceptable.
A Missouri deed’s text must be printed or typed in black or other dark-colored ink, with a minimum print size of 8-point type.3 The print must be sufficiently legible to allow for reproduction of clear and readable images.4
The first page of a Missouri deed must include a top margin measuring at least 3 inches to allow space for the recorder’s information. All other margins must be a minimum of ¾ inch.5
Missouri law requires certain information to be listed on a deed’s first page.6 If there is insufficient space on the first page for all of the below information, then the first page must have a page reference to where the information is located in the deed.
- A title identifying the type of instrument being recorded;
- The date of the document;
- The names and marital status for all grantors;
- The names of all grantees;
- The mailing address of the grantee and any other required addresses;
- The property’s legal description; and
- Any book-and-page references to other documents required by law.7
Non-English Language Deed
A deed in a language other than English can be recorded only if it is accompanied by a sworn translation and it otherwise complies with Missouri law.8
Content Requirements for Missouri Deeds
Missouri content requirements govern the substantive provisions that must be included in each Missouri deed form. Missouri deeds must meet the following content requirements:
A deed must provide the necessary details of the real estate transfer by including:
- The names of the current owner and new owner;
- A granting clause indicating that the deed transfers title to the new owner; and
- An accurate description of the property.9
The words used in the granting clause depend on the type of deed and the warranty of title it provides. Missouri recognizes warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quitclaim deeds.
A Missouri deed must list the marital status of the current owner(s) who is transferring the real estate.10
A deed must contain a legal description of the property that accurately identifies the real estate the deed transfers.11 A property’s street address is not a sufficient legal description. Legal descriptions ordinarily identify real estate using:
- Lot, block and plat numbers;
- Metes and bounds descriptions;
- Section, township, and range numbers; and/or
- Reference by book-and-page number to a previously recorded instrument that adequately describes the property.
Redaction of Social Security Numbers
Sensitive personal identifying information (such as SSNs) must be redacted from a deed that is filed for recording.13
Signing Requirements for Missouri Deeds
A Missouri deed is not valid unless it is signed as required by law. Missouri deeds must meet the following signature requirements:
Current Owner’s Signature
The current owner making the transfer (the grantor) must sign a Missouri deed.14 The grantor’s signature (and any other required signatures) must be made in black ink or another sufficiently dark color. The signer’s name must be typed, printed, or stamped immediately beneath the signature.15
An entity transferring real estate signs a deed by an individual with authority to act for the entity—such as a corporation’s president or a trust’s trustee.16
If the current owner making the transfer is married, his or her spouse should also sign the deed in most cases.17 Including both spouses’ signatures avoids future title issues that may result from a non-owner spouse’s marital rights in the property.18 Missouri specifically requires both spouses’ signatures if the transferred property is their principal residence (homestead).19
Power of Attorney
Missouri law allows an agent acting under a power of attorney (POA) granted by the owner to sign a deed on the owner’s behalf.20 The POA instrument that gives the agent authority to sign must be signed by the principal (the owner), notarized, and recorded.21
The current owner’s signature must be acknowledged before a notary or other authorized officer.23 Missouri has a model statutory notary certificate for deeds.24
Fees Required to File Missouri Deeds
Missouri deeds are submitted for recording to the recorder of deeds for the county where the property is located.25 The recorder of deeds charges a recording fee when accepting a deed.26 The total charge varies between deeds and counties and is typically $21.00 – $25.00 for the first page and $3.00 for each additional page. There is a different fee schedule when recording deeds in independent cities, such as St. Louis.27
Missouri does not charge a transfer tax, and there is no specific informational form required with a Missouri deed. Some counties have cover sheets designed to ensure the deed’s first page has all needed information.28
Each deed created by our deed preparation service is attorney-designed to meet Missouri recording requirements and comes with step-by-step instructions for filing with the county recorder’s office.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. §59.310.3.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.1(1) and (4).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.1(2).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 59.310.1(3) and (4); 59.005(4).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.1(6).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 59.310.2; 59.330.2.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.2(7) (If a deed is required by statute to include a reference to one or more other recorded documents, the deed’s first page must list the book-and-page numbers of the referenced documents).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.140(2).
- Boatmen’s Nat. Bank v. Dandy, 804 S.W.2d 783 (Mo. Ct. App. 1990).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.130(2).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.005(6).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.135(1).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.331.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.020.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.1(5).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.060.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.030.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 474.150(2).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.475(2).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.020.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.360.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 461.035(1).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 59.330.1(1); 442.150(1).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.210.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 442.380.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.6(1).
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.313.
- See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 59.310.2.