Montana Warranty Deed Form

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What is a Montana Warranty Deed Form?

A Montana warranty deed is a legal document that transfers Montana real estate from one party to another. This type of deed offers the highest level of protection for the buyer, as the seller guarantees that he or she holds a clear and marketable title to the property. The seller also warrants that there are no undisclosed encumbrances or defects in the title and agrees to defend the buyer against any claims that may arise in the future regarding the property.

How Warranty of Title Works in Montana

A warranty of title refers to the guarantees and assurances about a property’s title that the seller provides to the buyer. These guarantees protect the buyer from any potential defects or encumbrances on the title that may have existed before the property transfer.

A Montana deed that provides a complete warranty of title (a general warranty) ordinarily includes the following covenants:1

  • Covenant of seisin. The seller guarantees that he or she holds good title to the property.
  • Covenant against encumbrances. The seller warrants that there are no undisclosed liens, taxes, assessments, or other encumbrances on the property that could affect the buyer’s ownership.2
  • Covenant of quiet enjoyment. The seller guarantees that the buyer’s possession and use of the property will not be disturbed by any third-party claims to the title.
  • Covenant of further assurance. The seller promises to take any necessary actions to confirm the buyer’s ownership of the property.
  • Covenant of general warranty. The seller agrees to defend the buyer against any claims arising from title problems that existed as of the time of the transfer.

A warranty of title makes the seller responsible for addressing and remedying any title problems that are discovered and that are not excluded from the deed’s warranty. If a third-party claim is made against the title after the transfer, the seller is legally obligated to defend the buyer and cover any losses the buyer incurs due to the claim.3

Montana Warranty Deeds and Title Insurance

Title insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects buyers and lenders from financial losses caused by problems with the property’s title. Title insurance covers issues like liens, chain-of-title problems, boundary disputes, and other title defects that were not discovered during the title search process prior to closing.4 Title insurance can be purchased by a buyer, a seller, or a lender—typically through a one-time premium paid at the time of closing.

Title insurance provides an additional layer of protection to a buyer who takes title through a Montana warranty deed. The title insurance policy reinforces the warranties and covenants made by the seller and ensures a reliable source of compensation if the seller is unable or unwilling to correct a title problem. The title insurance company also agrees to defend the buyer’s interest in the property against a third-party claim, which protects the buyer from the high legal fees often associated with title disputes.

Other Names for a Montana Warranty Deed Form

Montana warranty deeds are sometimes called general warranty deeds to distinguish the warranty’s broad coverage from the narrower coverage provided by a special warranty deed. The names warranty deed and general warranty deed are common in other states, also.

Some states may use slightly different terminology to refer to the same type of deed. Names used in other states for deeds that provide a complete warranty include full warranty deed and statutory warranty deed.

How Do Montana Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?

In Montana, several types of deeds are used to transfer real estate, each providing different levels of protection for the buyer. In addition to warranty deeds, Montana recognizes special warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds—each of which provides the new owner less protection than a Montana warranty deed.

  • Montana special warranty deed form. A Montana special warranty deed form offers a more limited level of protection for the buyer. The seller guarantees that the title is free from defects or encumbrances that occurred during the seller’s ownership.5 The seller does not warrant against any title defects that may have arisen before the seller owned the property. This means the buyer assumes the risk for any title issues that occurred prior to the seller’s ownership.
  • Montana quitclaim deed form. A Montana quitclaim deed form offers the least protection for the buyer. In this type of deed, the seller does not make any warranties or guarantees regarding the quality of the title. The seller simply transfers whatever interest he or she may have in the property as of the date of the deed, without ensuring that the title is clear or marketable.6

Montana warranty deeds provide the most comprehensive warranties and protections for buyers. In contrast, special warranty deeds offer more limited assurances, and quitclaim deeds give a buyer no warranty at all.

Montana Warranty Deeds and Montana Estate Planning Deed Forms

Montana estate planning often involves the use of specialized types of deeds that allow property owners to transfer real estate at death without going through probate. Montana’s two main types of estate planning deeds are life estate deeds and transfer-on-death deeds.

Montana Life Estate Deed Form

A life estate deed in Montana is a legal document that allows the owner to keep lifetime ownership of the property and transfer property to a beneficiary (the remainderman) the right to own the property when the current owner dies. Upon the owner’s death, the property automatically passes to the beneficiary, with no need for probate. A life estate deed’s main disadvantage is that after creating a life estate deed, the owner cannot sell or mortgage the property without the beneficiary’s consent.7

Montana Transfer-on-Death Deed Form

A Montana transfer-on-death deed form—also called a TOD deed or a beneficiary deed—is a legal instrument that allows the owner to name a beneficiary who will receive the property upon the grantor’s death without the need for probate.8 A TOD deed lets the owner maintain control over the property for life and keep Montana real estate out of probate. The owner has the right to sell the property, revoke the TOD deed, or modify the beneficiary designation until his or her death. TOD deeds are simpler and less expensive than many other estate-planning strategies.

Lady Bird Deed (Enhanced Life Estate Deed) in Montana

A lady bird deed, or enhanced life estate deed, is not recognized in Montana. This type of deed—which is mainly used in states like Florida, Michigan, and Texas—allows the grantor to retain control of the property during their lifetime and transfer it to a named remainderman upon their death without the need for probate. The grantor can change the remainderman, sell the property, or mortgage it without the remainderman’s consent. Although Montana law does not recognize lady bird deeds, the same purpose can be accomplished through transfer-on-death deeds and deeds to living trusts, each of which are used in Montana.

Common Uses of Montana Warranty Deed Forms

A warranty deed, or general warranty deed, is commonly used in Montana for several purposes. These purposes include.

  1. Buying or selling real estate. Warranty deeds are a common choice for real estate sales in Montana. They offer buyers the highest level of protection, as the grantor guarantees that the title is free and clear of any encumbrances or claims. This assurance gives the buyer confidence that he or she is obtaining good and marketable title to the property.
  2. Adding a co-owner. Montana property owners can use a warranty deed to re-title the property in the names of the current owner and another person as co-owners. For example, an owner may wish to add his or her spouse to the property’s title to create a right of survivorship—which lets the surviving spouse take complete title without probate when the other spouse dies.9
Attorney Practice Note: Although Montana warranty deeds can be used in most situations, quitclaim deeds are often preferred when the parties have a pre-existing relationship or when the property is transferred without a traditional sale, such as between family members or in a divorce settlement.

How to Create a Montana Warranty Deed Form

As with any deed, a Montana warranty deed should be customized to reflect the specific terms and conditions of the transaction. Reliance on fill-in-the-blank forms can lead to invalid documents and future title issues.

A warranty deed must satisfy Montana’s recording requirements and include all essential information—such as the names of the grantor and grantee, a legal description of the property, and the language needed to show the grantor is providing a complete warranty. A deed should also have a statement of consideration indicating that the new owner provided value for the transfer—though Montana deeds often list nominal consideration.

The grantor must sign the warranty deed in the presence of a notary public. The notary will then notarize the deed, confirming the grantor’s identity and the voluntary nature of the transfer. After the warranty deed has been signed and notarized, it should be recorded with the county clerk and recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. Recording the deed provides public notice of the transfer and protects the grantee’s interest in the property.

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  1. Mont. Code § 30-11-109.
  2. Mont. Code § 70-20-305.
  3. Mont. Code § 70-20-304(2).
  4. Mont. Code § 33-25-105(12).
  5. Mont. Code § 70-20-304.
  6. Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  7. Mont. Code § 70-16-102.
  8. Mont. Code § 72-6-404.
  9. Mont. Code § 70-20-310.