Missouri Special Warranty Deed Form – Summary

The Missouri special warranty deed form provides a limited warranty of title. With a special warranty deed, the person transferring the property guarantees that he or she has done nothing that would cause title problems, but makes no guarantees about what might have happened before he or she acquired the property. In Missouri, special warranty deeds are often used:

  • To transfer property to a trust—like a living trust—that the transferor controls or benefits from;
  • To transfer property to a business—like a limited liability company—that the transferor owns;
  • For sales of commercial or multi-family residential property;
  • To transfer property to a new owner that is purchasing title insurance on the property and is not concerned with the limited warranty of title; or
  • In other circumstances where the current owner does not want to be legally responsible for problems with title that arose before the current owner owned the property.

A special warranty deed requires special language to ensure that the deed qualifies as a special warranty deed. This language is automatically included by our deed preparation service and valid in all Missouri counties. Get Deed

How a Missouri Special Warranty Deed Form Works

What is a Missouri Special Warranty Deed?

A Missouri special warranty deed form transfers Missouri real estate from the current owner (grantor) to the new owner (grantee) with a limited warranty of title. The grantor guarantees that the grantor has done nothing to prevent the grantor from conveying clear title to the grantee, but makes no promises about what may have happened before the grantor acquired the property. The grantor’s guarantee is limited to the time that the grantor owned the property.

Other Names for Missouri Special Warranty Deeds

In Missouri, a deed that provides a warranty of title that is limited to the time that the grantor owned the property is called a special warranty deed. In other states, the same deed is known by different names. For example, California calls it a grant deed, Michigan calls it a covenant deed, and Alabama calls it a statutory warranty deed. Each name generally refers to the same deed form.

Relationship of Special Warranty Deed Form to Warranty of Title

Key Term: Warranty of Title. Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys. Title issues often require legal action to fix and can decrease the value of real estate. If the property has no title issues, it is said to have clear title. A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the transferor to the transferee that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the transferee can sue the transferor over any title issues.

The designation of a deed as a special warranty deed deals exclusively with the warranty of title provided by the deed. A special warranty deed provides a warranty of title that only covers the period when the grantor owned the property and does not extend to any actions or inactions by prior owners. This limited warranty of title differs from the warranty of title provided by the two other types of Missouri deeds that are defined by the warranty of title:

  1. Missouri Warranty Deed Form – A Missouri warranty deed form—often called a general warranty deed form to distinguish it from a special warranty deed—provides a full warranty of title. A grantor that signs a Missouri warranty deed is responsible for all title issues, including those that arose before the grantor owned the property.
  2. Missouri Quit Claim Deed Form – A Missouri quit claim deed form provides no warranty of title. The grantor makes no guarantee that he or she has clear title to the property or has a right to convey The grantee accepts the property “as is.”

By dividing risk between the grantor (for the period that the grantor owned the property) and the grantee (for the period before the grantor owned the property), a Missouri special warranty deed form creates a middle ground. Most commercial transactions in Missouri use special warranty deeds. In that context, the protection offered by a special warranty deed is usually supplemented by a title insurance policy on the property being conveyed.

A Missouri special warranty deed also differs from two other types of deeds that are named after their use as estate planning tools for avoiding Missouri probate:

  1. Missouri Life Estate Deed Form – Divides ownership into a life estate that is retained until death and a remainder interest that passes to beneficiaries at death. The person who holds the life estate (life tenant) cannot deal with the property without the consent of the remainder beneficiaries.
  2. Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form – Allows an owner to retain complete control during life—including the ability to sell the property or change or revoke the beneficiary designation—and pass the property to beneficiaries at death without probate.

Even though the names refer to different features, a life estate deed can also be a special warranty deed (or warranty deed or quitclaim deed), depending on the language it includes for the warranty of title.

Common Uses of Special Warranty Deeds

Special warranty deeds are used most often in commercial real estate transactions where the property is being sold to an unrelated third party. They may also be used to transfer Missouri real estate to a living trust or an LLC that is owned or controlled by the grantor. Using a special warranty deed provides a continued connection to the grantor that may help ensure continued protection under the grantor’s title insurance policy.

How to Create a Missouri Special Warranty Deed

A Missouri special warranty deed must be carefully prepared to ensure that it includes the right vesting and warranty language to create the limited warranty of title that is characteristic of special warranty deeds. The deed must also meet the legal requirements that apply to other types of deeds, including a valid legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title, font size and page format requirements, and signature and notarization requirements.

Each deed should be created with Michigan law in mind. A deed that is perfectly valid in another state may not be valid or recordable in Michigan. And imprecise language—even a single phrase that is incorrect—can result in a different type of deed than the one intended. Each deed created by our online deed preparation service was attorney-designed with Michigan legal requirements in mind.