Wyoming Warranty Deed Form

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What is a Wyoming Warranty Deed Form?

A Wyoming warranty deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of Wyoming real estate from one person or entity to another. When the grantor (the person transferring the property) signs the warranty deed, he or she guarantees good and marketable title to the property, free from any liens or encumbrances, except as specifically noted in the deed.1 A warranty deed provides the highest level of protection for the buyer (grantee). The grantor gives a complete warranty of title and promises to defend the title against any claims made by third parties.

How Warranty of Title Works in Wyoming

warranty of title in a Wyoming deed is a guarantee about a property’s title that a seller (or grantor) gives to the buyer (or grantee). A Wyoming warranty deed provides a complete warranty of title that consists of four promises (or covenants of title):

  • When signing the deed, the seller held good title to the property and had the right to transfer the property.
  • The property is free from all incumbrances—such as liens or other third-party claims against the title.
  • The seller guarantees that the new owner and future transferees will have undisturbed possession of the property.
  • The seller will defend the property’s title against all persons who make legal claims on it.2

The warranty protects the buyer from potential title problems by making the seller legally responsible if an undisclosed issue is discovered. The buyer can sue the seller for breach of warranty if the seller fails to fix a title problem covered by the warranty.

Attorney Practice Note: A warranty deed gives a real estate purchaser some protection—in the form of a breach of warranty claim against the seller—if the property’s title ends up being flawed or defective. Title insurance can provide an extra layer of protection by ensuring a reliable payment source if a title problem or third-party claim arises. A title insurance company also conducts a thorough search of public records to verify that a property’s title is clear and marketable before issuing a title insurance policy.

Title insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects a real estate buyer and lender from financial loss in the event that there are defects in a property’s title. If a title problem is discovered after closing, the title insurance policy covers any financial loss the problem causes to the buyer and/or lender. Title insurance also protects a seller from the financial risk that there is an unknown problem with a property’s title.

Other Names for a Wyoming Warranty Deed Form

Wyoming law uses the name warranty deed for a deed that provides a complete warranty of title. A Wyoming warranty deed may also be called a general warranty deed to distinguish it from deeds that provide a limited warranty of title—such as a special warranty deed. Some other states have alternate names—such as deed with full covenants in New York. While the names may vary, the legal effect of the document remains the same. The grantor guarantees good and marketable title to the property and promises to defend the title against any claims made by third parties.

How do Wyoming Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?

Wyoming warranty deeds provide the highest level of protection for the buyer, as the grantor is making a promise to defend the title against any claims made by third parties. Wyoming recognizes two other main deed forms that transfer the property with less or no guarantees to the new owner.

  • Wyoming special warranty deed form. A Wyoming special warranty deed form provides a warranty of title that only covers the time that the grantor owned the property.3 The grantor promises to defend the title, but only against claims that arose while the grantor held title. Claims and defects from before the grantor took title are not covered by a special warranty deed’s warranty.4
  • Wyoming quitclaim deed form. A Wyoming quitclaim deed form transfers property with no warranty of title at all.5 A quitclaim deed gives to the new owner whatever interest the grantor has in the property (if any)—with no guarantee that the grantor has an actual interest to transfer.6

A Wyoming warranty deed provides the new owner with the most protection and places the most risk on the grantor. Quitclaim deeds provide the new owner the least protection and place the least risk on the grantor. Special warranty deeds split the risk between the grantor and the new owner.

Wyoming Warranty Deeds and Other Wyoming Deed Forms

Wyoming estate-planning deeds are intended for use in estate plans to avoid probate. While warranty deeds are named for the warranty of title they provide, estate-planning deeds have names based on how they allow real estate to bypass probate when the owner dies. The two most common Wyoming estate-planning deeds are life estate deeds and transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds.

  • Wyoming life estate deed. A Wyoming life estate deed creates a life estate—an ownership interest that continues until the owner’s death—and a remainder—a right to future ownership when the life estate ends. An owner who creates a Wyoming life estate deed typically keeps the life estate—which allows the owner to continue owning and possessing the property for life. The life estate deed typically gives the remainder interest to a family member—who will take title automatically upon the owner’s death, with no need for probate. After signing and recording the life estate deed, the owner cannot sell or transfer complete ownership of the property without the remainder beneficiary’s consent.7
  • Wyoming transfer-on-death deed. Wyoming transfer-on-death deed allows the owner to name a beneficiary who will receive ownership of the property upon the owner’s death, without the need for probate.8 Unlike a life estate deed, a TOD deed is revocable, and the owner retains the right to sell or transfer the property for life without involving the beneficiary.9
Attorney Practice Note: A lady bird deed—also known as an enhanced life estate deed—allows the owner to retain ownership and control of the property during for life, transferring the property automatically to the named beneficiary upon the owner’s death. Unlike a traditional life estate deed, a person who creates a lady bird deed can change his or her mind without involving the named beneficiaries. Wyoming law does not authorize lady bird deeds, so they are not used in Wyoming. However, a transfer-on-death deed serves the same purpose and makes lady bird deeds unnecessary in most cases. A Wyoming property owner can also retain possession and control and avoid probate by using a deed to a living trust.

Common Uses of Wyoming Warranty Deed Forms

Wyoming warranty deeds are commonly used in real estate transactions involving transfer of ownership from one person or entity to another. The most common scenario in which a Wyoming property owner issues a warranty deed is when a new owner purchases residential real estate for fair market value in an arms-length transaction. A warranty deed is also commonly used to purchase or sell land or commercial property.

Warranty deeds may be used to transfer property as a gift, to add or remove a co-owner from the title, or to transfer property into a trust or other legal entity. However, special warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds are more often used when a transfer involves minimal or no consideration.

How to Create a Wyoming Warranty Deed Form

As with any deed, a Wyoming 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 Wyoming warranty deed must meet all of Wyoming’s legal requirements for deeds. The deed must include the names and addresses of the parties, a valid legal description, and a granting clause stating that the grantor is transferring the property to the new owner.

A warranty deed also must have the language needed to create the complete warranty of title. Wyoming has a suggested statutory deed form for warranty deeds—which says that the current owner “conveys and warrants” the property to the new owner.10 A deed that uses the statutory warranty deed form includes the implied covenants of warranty that comprise a complete warranty of title under Wyoming law.11

The warranty deed must be signed and notarized by the grantor. The signed, notarized deed should then be recorded with the county clerk of the county where the property is located. Recording provides notice to the public of the change in ownership and establishes the grantee’s legal rights to the property.12

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  1. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-102.
  2. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-103.
  3. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-136.
  4. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-137.
  5. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-104.
  6. Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-107.
  7. Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-111.
  8. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a).
  9. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(k).
  10. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-102.
  11. Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-103.
  12. Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-121.