Tennessee Warranty Deed Form

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What is a Tennessee Warranty Deed Form?

A Tennessee warranty deed, also known as a general warranty deed, is a legal document used to transfer real estate ownership from the grantor (seller) to the grantee (buyer) with the most comprehensive warranties of title.1 The grantor guarantees that there are no problems with the property’s title—regardless of when they arose. This type of deed provides the grantee with the highest level of protection and is commonly used in residential property transactions.

How Warranty of Title Works in Tennessee

A warranty of title in Tennessee refers to the grantor’s assurances regarding the property’s title. In a warranty deed, the grantor provides several promises (called covenants of title), which typically include:

  • Covenant of seisin. The grantor holds good title to the property.
  • Covenant of right to convey. The grantor has the power to transfer ownership.
  • Covenant against encumbrances. The property is subject to no liens, mortgages, assessments, or other encumbrances.
  • Covenant of quiet enjoyment. The new owner will have undisturbed possession of the property.
  • Covenant of general warranty. The grantor guarantees the title and will accept responsibility for any problems with the property’s title.

The covenants of title in a Tennessee warranty deed give the new owner the greatest level of protection and assurance regarding the property’s title.

Tennessee Warranty Deeds and Title Insurance

Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects the new property owner and/or a mortgage lender from financial losses due to chain-of-title issues, undisclosed liens, or other title problems not discovered during a title search.2 If a title problem is identified later, the insurance company compensates the owner or lender for any financial loss that the problem causes.

Title insurance can offer additional protection to the warranty of title that a Tennessee warranty deed provides. The title policy serves as a supplement to the grantor’s guarantee and ensures that there is a reliable source of payment in case the grantor is unable or unwilling to fulfill obligations due under the warranty.

Other Names for a Tennessee Warranty Deed Form

The names warranty deed and general warranty deed are both commonly used in Tennessee for deeds that provide the new owner with a complete warranty of title. Those terms are also the most common terms in other states. A few states use their own variations—such as deed with full covenants in New York.

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

Tennessee recognizes several types of deeds that offer different levels of protection to the new owner. A warranty deed provides the most comprehensive protection and places all risk on the grantor. A Tennessee property owner can also use a special warranty deed or a quitclaim deed to transfer a property with different assurances regarding its title.

  1. Tennessee special warranty deed form. A Tennessee special warranty deed form transfers property with a limited warranty that covers only the grantor’s period of ownership. The grantor guarantees that no title issues arose while he or she owned the property but makes no guarantees about the title’s status before that time.3 Special warranty deeds are often used in commercial transactions or situations where the grantor has limited knowledge of the property’s history.
  2. Tennessee quitclaim deed form. A Tennessee quitclaim deed form transfers property with no warranty of title. The grantor simply conveys whatever interest he or she may have in the property and makes no representations about the title’s status.4 This type of deed is typically used to clear up title issues, transfer property among family members, or re-title a property without changing actual control (such as a transfer to a living trust).

Tennessee Warranty Deeds and Other Tennessee Deed Forms

Certain types of deeds are designed for use in estate planning to transfer property outside probate or to establish future property interests. While warranty deeds are named for the warranty of title they provide, estate-planning deeds have names that are based on how the deed transfers property when the owner dies. Tennessee law recognizes two main types of estate-planning deeds: Life estate deeds and survivorship deeds.

  • Life estate deeds. In Tennessee, life estate deeds can be used to create a lifetime ownership interest in the property for one person (the life tenant) and a future interest (or remainder) in another person who takes title when the life tenant dies. An owner who creates a life estate deed typically keeps the life estate for himself or herself and gives the remainder to a family member. This arrangement lets the owner continue to use and occupy the property for life and then pass it to the remainder beneficiary without probate at death.
  • Survivorship deed. A survivorship deed is a deed that puts property in the names of co-owners who share a right of survivorship. When a co-owner dies, the other co-owner automatically takes complete ownership of the property without probate. A Tennessee survivorship deed gives the property to the co-owners as joint tenants with right of survivorship or (if they are married) as tenants by the entirety.
Attorney Practice Note: Tennessee law does not recognize two types of estate-planning deeds—transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds and lady bird deeds—that let a property owner keep complete control over the property for life and transfer it outside probate at death. Where they are recognized, TOD deeds and lady bird deeds have the advantage of allowing the owner to sell or transfer the property without involving the beneficiary. A Tennessee property owner can accomplish a similar result by transferring the property to a living trust.

Common Uses of Tennessee Warranty Deed Forms

A Tennessee warranty deed is used for real estate transactions in which the grantor is willing to provide the grantee with a complete warranty of the property’s title. Common uses for warranty deeds include.

  • Residential property sales. Warranty deeds are frequently used in residential property sales, as they provide the buyer with the most comprehensive warranties and assurances about the title.
  • Transactions between unrelated parties. When the grantor and grantee are not related and the grantee has limited knowledge of the property’s history, a warranty deed offers the most protection for the grantee.
  • Transactions with a clear title history. If the property has a clear title history with no known issues or encumbrances, a warranty deed may be the preferred choice for both parties.
Although warranty deeds can be used to transfer property within a family, a quitclaim deed form is often a better choice. A quitclaim deed reflects the fact that the grantor is not receiving money for the property and therefore should not be financially responsible for title issues that the grantor may not know about.

How to Create a Tennessee Warranty Deed Form

As with any deed, a Tennessee 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.

Every Tennessee deed must meet Tennessee’s deed requirements. Among other things, a deed must include the names of the grantor and grantee, the legal description of the property, a derivation clause that identifies the source of the grantor’s title, and a granting clause stating that the grantor transfers the property to the grantee. Tennessee deeds customarily include a statement of nominal consideration in the text of the deed, though the new owner must verify the property value or actual consideration within an affidavit or verified statement in the deed (unless the deed is exempt from recordation tax).5

A warranty deed must have the language necessary to convey the property with a complete warranty. A deed that includes the grantor’s declaration that he or she “warrant[s] the title against all persons whomsoever” is considered to provide a general warranty under Tennessee law.6 Tennessee warranty deeds customarily include additional express covenants defining the scope of the deed’s warranty.

The grantor must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public, who will notarize the document to confirm the grantor’s identity and voluntary execution of the deed. To provide public notice of the property transfer and protect the grantee’s interest, the signed and notarized deed should be recorded in the Register of Deeds office in the county where the property is located. The register of deeds will charge a recording fee and (if applicable) transfer tax. The total amount due varies by deed and by county.

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  1. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-103(1)(A).
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-35-102(11).
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-103(1)(B).
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-103(1)(B).
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 67-4-409(a)(5) and (6).
  6. Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-103(1).