Oregon Deed Forms for Real Estate Transfers

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What types of deeds are recognized in Oregon?

Oregon recognizes by statute four basic deed forms for transferring real estate: warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, bargain and sale deeds, and quitclaim deeds. In each case, Oregon law assumes a deed transfers the current owner’s entire interest in the real estate unless the deed expressly limits the transferred interest.1

Oregon’s deed forms are distinguishable based on the warranty of title the current owner provides. A warranty of title is an enforceable guaranty that real estate’s title is subject to no undisclosed defects.2 Potential title defects could include mortgages, mechanic’s liens, adverse third-party claims, or an unclear chain of title.3

Oregon law recognizes the following statutory deed forms:

  1. Warranty Deeds. An Oregon warranty deed form offers the strongest warranty of title.4 The current owner—the grantor—guarantees the property’s title is subject to no undisclosed defects. The warranty extends to the property’s entire chain of title. The current owner signing an Oregon warranty deed conveys and warrants the real estate to the new owner, and the current owner bears all risk of unknown title defects. Warranty deeds are sometimes called general warranty deeds to differentiate them from less protective special warranty deeds.
  2. Special Warranty Deeds. An Oregon special warranty deed form transfers real estate with the same warranty of title as general warranty deeds—except the warranty only extends to the period during which the current owner owned the property.5 Special warranty deeds distribute the risk of unknown title defects between the current owner and the new owner—depending on when a defect originated.6 When executing an Oregon special warranty deed, the current owner conveys and specially warrants the real estate to the new owner. Some states use the alternate terms limited warranty deed, grant deed, or covenant deed to describe a deed that provides warranty of title limited to the current owner’s period of ownership.7
  3. Bargain and Sale Deeds. An Oregon bargain and sale deed form transfers real estate with no warranty of title.8 When signing an Oregon bargain and sale deed, the current owner conveys the real estate to the new owner without warranty, and the new owner bears the risk of title defects.9 A bargain and sale deed transfers whatever interest the property owner holds when executing the deed and any interest that vests in the current owner after the deed is signed.10
  4. Quitclaim Deeds. An Oregon quitclaim deed form transfers whatever interest the current owner holds as of the date of the deed, if any, with no warranty of title.11 The person signing a quitclaim deed quitclaims the real estate to the new owner, and the new owner bears the risk of title defects.12 An Oregon quitclaim deed is sufficient to transfer whatever interest the current owner could convey with a bargain and sale deed but does not transfer any interest that vests in the current owner after the date of the deed.13

The parties to an Oregon deed can limit or add to the deed’s warranty or covenants by incorporating unambiguous language within the deed.14 Oregon law does not assume a deed includes any covenants not expressly within the deed—unless the deed contains the statutory language for warranty deeds or special warranty deeds.15

Questions about what Oregon deed form is right for you?

Click the link below to use our guided interview. We’ll go over the options that are available in Oregon and provide guidance on choosing the deed form that matches your goals.

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What types of estate planning deeds does Oregon use?

Along with the state’s four statutory deed forms described above, Oregon recognizes several specialized types of deeds named for the deed’s purpose. The following specialized deeds can also be one of the above-described deed forms. For example, a life estate deed could also be a special warranty deed.

  • Life Estate Deeds. When signing a life estate deed, a property owner conveys or reserves a real estate interest that lasts for the recipient’s lifetime.16 When the life estate holder—or life tenant—dies, the interest passes to a successor named in the life estate deed—called the remainderman. Though still recognized under Oregon law, life estate deeds are less prevalent since the legislature’s 2012 authorization of transfer on death deeds.17
  • Transfer on Death Deeds. Also called TOD deed or beneficiary deed, an Oregon transfer on death deed form transfers real estate to a named beneficiary effective upon the current owner’s death.18 During life, the property owner retains all rights in the property—including the right to revoke the TOD deed.19 Under Oregon law, a transfer on death deed does not provide warranty of title even if the deed says otherwise.20
  • Trustee’s Deed to Purchaser. A trustee named in a deed of trust executes an Oregon trustee’s deed to purchaser after a foreclosure sale.21 A trustee’s deed to purchaser conveys the property to the purchaser, and the lender applies the sale proceeds toward the debt that the real estate secured.22
  • Deed to Trust. An Oregon deed to trust conveys real estate from the current owner to a living trust or other trust. A property owner transferring real estate to a revocable living trust controlled by the property owner often uses a deed to trust.
  • Personal Representative’s Deed. A personal representative’s deed—sometimes called executor’s deed—conveys real estate from a deceased individual’s estate to a purchaser, beneficiary, heir, or other assignee of the estate.23 A personal representative’s deed is issued by a court-appointed personal representative of an estate in connection with a probate case.

Need an Oregon transfer-on-death deed?

In states that recognize them, transfer-on-death-deeds (sometimes called beneficiary deeds) are popular probate avoidance tools. Our TOD deed creation service makes it easy to create one. Click the link below to get started.

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Where are deeds filed in Oregon?

Oregon deeds are filed with the county clerk of the county in which the real estate is located.24 Under Oregon law, a validly recorded deed serves as constructive notice of the transfer to future purchasers, creditors, and anyone else who might have an interest in the property.25

What is the cost to file an Oregon deed?

Filing fees necessary to record an Oregon deed vary by county. Most counties charge a flat fee of between $95.00 and $110.00, plus an additional $5.00 for each page of the deed.26 A clerk may charge a $20.00 penalty fee if the clerk accepts for filing a deed that does not comply with Oregon’s formatting requirements or omits necessary information from the deed’s first page.27

Oregon does not impose a statewide transfer tax for real estate transfers.28 Washington County—which includes Portland—charges a transfer tax at the county level.29 Washington County’s transfer tax rate is $1.00 for every $1,000.00 paid for the real estate by the purchaser.30 Either the buyer or seller must pay the tax within 15 days after recording a conveyance.31

Certain deeds are exempt from Washington County’s transfer tax, including:

  • Deeds in lieu of foreclosure;
  • Sheriff’s deeds;
  • Trustee’s deeds to purchasers issued following foreclosure sales;
  • Deeds to or from government entities;
  • Deeds recorded only due to an entity’s dissolution or change in identity;
  • Deeds reflecting a transfer by gift, devise, or inheritance;
  • Deeds transferring real estate with a purchase price of less than $14,000; and
  • Deeds between spouses relating to divorce proceedings.32

What are the ways that multiple owners can hold title to Oregon real estate?

Oregon law has rules for determining the form of co-ownership of Oregon real estate owned by multiple owners. It assumes that, when a deed conveys real estate to more than one unmarried person, the deed creates a tenancy in common unless the deed unambiguously declares a right of survivorship.33 Tenants in common own separate part-interests in real estate that they can transfer separately during life or by will.

Oregon has abolished the form of joint ownership known as joint tenancy.34 In states that recognize joint tenancy, joint tenants co-own property with a right of survivorship—which means that when one owner dies, the deceased owner’s share vests in the surviving owner.

A deed conveying Oregon real estate to two new owners as joint tenants creates a tenancy in common unless the deed clearly declares a right of survivorship.35 If the deed declares a right of survivorship, the co-owners are considered tenants in common for life—with each co-owner holding a contingent remainder interest in the other owner’s part interest.36 A contingent remainder interest vests in a surviving owner if the other owner dies first.

Oregon’s abolition of joint tenancy and presumption in favor of tenancy in common has an exception when a deed names trustees or personal representatives as co-owners. Oregon law assumes two or more trustees or personal representatives who jointly own real estate are joint tenants—unless the deed expressly declares a tenancy in common.37

A third form of joint ownership—tenancy by the entirety—is only available when co-owners of Oregon real estate are married spouses.38 Also called tenancy in the entirety, tenancy by the entirety includes a right of survivorship like joint tenancy. Oregon law assumes a deed conveying Oregon real estate to a married couple creates a tenancy by the entirety unless the deed expressly states otherwise.39

Another option for effectively co-owning Oregon real estate is to own a property through a trust. Trusts come in a wide variety and allow for substantial flexibility and control over the long-term use of real estate.40 A property owner forms a trust by executing a declaration of trust that names a trustee and designates the intended co-owners as beneficiaries.41 The owner funds the trust by recording a deed conveying the real estate to the trust (or to the trust’s trustee in a representative capacity).42 The trust holds legal title to the real estate, while the owners—as beneficiaries—enjoy the benefits of the property.

What are the rules for spousal ownership of Oregon real estate?

Tenancy by the entirety is the default and most common way for Oregon spouses to co-own real estate.43 Deeds creating a tenancy by the entirety typically convey real estate to spouses jointly as tenants by the entirety or jointly as husband and wife. Because tenancy by the entirety has a right of survivorship, complete title to real estate co-owned as tenants by the entirety automatically vests in a surviving spouse upon the other spouse’s death.

Oregon is not a community property state and has abolished dower and curtsey rights by statute.44 Oregon’s homestead law does not require a non-owner spouse to join in a transfer of a homestead property individually owned by the other spouse.45

Oregon’s spousal inheritance laws can impact how an estate plan treats Oregon real estate. When a married Oregon resident dies without a will and leaves no surviving descendants, the surviving spouse inherits the deceased spouse’s entire net estate.46 If the deceased spouse has children who are also the children of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse still inherits the entire net estate.47 If the deceased spouse has children who are not the surviving spouse’s children, the surviving spouse’s share is one-half of the estate.48

Even if a deceased spouse leaves a will, Oregon’s spousal elective share statute can affect the ultimate ownership of Oregon real estate. Oregon’s spousal elective share gives a surviving spouse a waivable right to a portion of a deceased spouse’s estate—including personal property and real estate.49 The elective share amount ranges from five percent to thirty-three percent of the estate—calculated based on the length of the marriage.50 When measuring the elective share, the deceased spouse’s estate consists of probate and some non-probate assets—including jointly owned real estate and real estate subject to a transfer on death deed.51

How can I transfer Oregon property to or from a living trust?

Oregon law authorizes trusts to own real estate in the trust’s name or through the trustee in a representative capacity. When a trustee owns Oregon real estate as a trustee, the deed should expressly identify the trustee’s representative capacity. The acknowledgment form for a deed signed by a trustee should also clearly indicate that the trustee is acting as trustee.52

Oregon law does not require a deed conveying real estate to a trust to identify the trust’s beneficiaries. If a deed transfers Oregon real estate to a trustee and does not identify the trust’s beneficiaries, Oregon law assumes the trustee has the authority to convey the property through a future deed.53

A certification of trust is a document signed by a trustee that sets forth information about the trust—such as the settlor’s and trustee’s names, the date of the trust, and the trustee’s powers.54Oregon does not require recording of a certification of trust when a trust owns real estate. However, the other party to a deed may require a certification of trust.55

What rules apply to deeds of Oregon property from corporations or LLCs?

Under Oregon law, members of a member-managed LLC have the authority to execute a deed on the LLC’s behalf.56 If an LLC is manager-managed, the LLC’s managers have the authority to execute a deed on the company’s behalf.57 In either case, an LLC’s articles of organization can override a member or manager’s presumed authority.

Oregon corporations typically execute deeds through an officer with authority to sign on the corporation’s behalf.58 An officer’s authority to sign for a corporation may be expressed in either the corporation’s bylaws or through a board of directors’ resolution.59

When an LLC or corporation executes a deed through an authorized representative, the deed and notary acknowledgment should clearly indicate the signer’s representative capacity.60 Oregon law does not require a corporate seal to be affixed to a deed.61

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  1. O.R.S. § 93.120.
  2. See, e.g., O.R.S. § 93.850(2).
  3. See O.R.S. § 731.190.
  4. O.R.S. § 93.850.
  5. O.R.S. § 93.855.
  6. O.R.S. § 93.855(2).
  7. See, e.g., Ohio Rev. Code § 5302.07; Cal. Civ. Code § 1092.
  8. O.R.S. § 93.860(3).
  9. O.R.S. § 93.860(1).
  10. O.R.S. § 93.860(2)(b).
  11. O.R.S. § 93.865(2).
  12. O.R.S. § 93.865(1).
  13. O.R.S. § 93.865(2).
  14. See, e.g., O.R.S. § 93.850(3).
  15. O.R.S. § 93.140.
  16. See R.S. § 93.150.
  17. O.R.S. § 93.950.
  18. O.R.S. § 93.969.
  19. O.R.S. § 93.965; O.R.S. § 93.967.
  20. O.R.S. § 93.969(4).
  21. O.R.S. § 86.800.
  22. O.R.S. § 86.794.
  23. See O.R.S. § 114.305(4); O.R.S. § 114.325.
  24. O.R.S. § 205.130(2).
  25. O.R.S. § 93.643.
  26. O.R.S. § 205.320; O.R.S. § 306.815.
  27. O.R.S. § 205.327; see O.R.S. § 205.232, O.R.S. § 205.234(1).
  28. O.R.S. § 306.815.
  29. See O.R.S. § 306.815(4) (grandfathering local transfer taxes in effect as of March 31, 1997).
  30. See Washington County Ord. 3.04.070.
  31. See Washington County Ord. 3.04.070.
  32. Washington County Ord. § 3.04.030(J).
  33. O.R.S. § 93.180(1)(a).
  34. O.R.S. § 93.180(2).
  35. O.R.S. § 93.180(2).
  36. O.R.S. § 93.180(2).
  37. O.R.S. § 93.190(1).
  38. O.R.S. § 93.180(1)(b).
  39. O.R.S. § 93.180(1)(b).
  40. See Oregon Uniform Trust Code, O.R.S. § § 130.001, et. seq.
  41. O.R.S. § 130.155.
  42. O.R.S. § 130.150.
  43. O.R.S. § 93.180(1)(b).
  44. O.R.S. § 112.685.
  45. See O.R.S. § 18.395.
  46. O.R.S. § 112.035.
  47. O.R.S. § 112.025.
  48. O.R.S. § 112.025(2).
  49. O.R.S. § 114.600; O.R.S. § 114.630.
  50. O.R.S. § 114.605(2).
  51. O.R.S. § 114.630.
  52. O.R.S. § 194.285(2).
  53. O.R.S. § 93.210.
  54. O.R.S. § 130.860(2).
  55. O.R.S. § 130.860(1).
  56. O.R.S. § 63.140(3).
  57. O.R.S. § 63.140(3).
  58. O.R.S. § 93.410.
  59. O.R.S. § 60.371.
  60. O.R.S. § 194.285(2).
  61. O.R.S. § 93.410.