Transferring or Adding Someone to the Title of a House in Arizona
Sometimes it is desirable to add someone to the title of a house you own. Arizona offers two ways to accomplish this: a quit claim deed or a warranty deed. This article covers the difference between the two types of deeds and the process for filing them.
AZ Statewide Paralegal offers professional legal document preparation services. We have decades of experience preparing and filing deeds and other legal documents in Arizona. Contact our office today so that we can walk you through the legal document preparation services we offer.
Deeds: Evidence of Ownership
A deed is a written document that provides evidence of ownership of a property (also called “legal interest in a property”) and also is used to transfer property ownership from one person or entity to another person or entity.
Quit Claim Deeds
A quit claim deed transfers your property interest to another person or legal entity. When you sign a quit claim deed, you do not make any guarantees or promises about whether someone else also has a legal interest in the property. You are merely signing over your legal interest, if any, in the property. You are the grantor (giving the interest) and the person who receives your interest is the grantee. Quit claim deeds are sometimes mistakenly called “quick” claim deeds.
When you use a warranty deed, you are guaranteeing that no one else has any legal interest or right to the property. You are providing a promise, or warranty, that the property is free and clear. As with a quit claim deed, ownership of a property is transferred from one person to another. But by signing a warranty deed the grantor guarantees that there are no liens against the property.
The deed to your property specifies the type of ownership you have. For example, you may have sole ownership of the property, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, tenancy in common, community property, community property with the right of survivorship, or a beneficiary deed. For informational purposes, here are the definitions of these types of ownership:
• Sole ownership means you are the only owner of the property.
• Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship means that two or more people have ownership of the property and when one of the owners dies the property right transfers directly to the other, living owner(s).
• Tenancy in common means that two or more individuals own property but each owner has a separate interest, with no right of survivorship.
• Community property is available only to married couples. It means that each individual owns an undivided half interest in the property.
• Community property with the right of survivorship is also only available to married couples. It means that when one spouse dies, the other spouse is entitled to both halves of the property.
• Beneficiary deed means that the owner has recorded a deed that conveys the property when he or she dies to whomever is named as the beneficiary in the deed.
Quit Claim Deeds vs. Warranty Deeds
Quit claim deeds are most often used to transfer property rights between family members. For example, a quit claim deed might be used in a divorce where one spouse receives the family home as part of the divorce property settlement. Parents might use a quit claim deed when transferring property to their children. When getting remarried, one spouse might use a quit claim deed to add the new spouse to the property title. Quit claim deeds are also used when setting up a living trust.
Warranty deeds are most often used in a sale of a home between two unrelated parties. They are one of the most commonly used deeds. A warranty deed is preferred by most title companies over a quit claim deed, especially when refinancing a loan.
Once you have decided which type of deed you want to use to transfer ownership to property, you’ll need to gather some information to get started on the process with AZ Statewide Paralegal. We will need to get all of your information, including how to contact you. If you have a copy of the most recently recorded deed, that is helpful as we need to provide the proper legal description of the property. If the property is in Pima County, we can help you locate the most recently recorded deed, if it was recorded after 1986. If you use the legal description from your property tax statement, it may not be complete and it is possible that your quit claim or warranty deed will be rejected by the assessor.
Arizona law has certain requirements for quit claim and warranty deeds. You need to include the grantor’s name. (The grantor, remember, is the person or persons who owns the property.) You will also need to include the grantee’s name. You can choose more than one person or legal entity as your grantee.
You will also need to choose how the grantees will hold title to the property. You can choose as sole and separate property, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, tenants in common, or community property with right of survivorship (as long as the grantees are a married couple).
When using the warranty deed or quit claim deed you also need to specify the exemption you are using that will allow you to file a deed when no money has changed hands. According to the Arizona Revised Statues (ARS) 11-1133, the county recorder shall refuse to record any deed and any contract relating to the sale of real property if a complete affidavit of legal value is not appended unless the instrument bears a notation indicating an exemption. The most common exemptions are husband and wife (ARS 11-1134-B3), parent and child (ARS 11-1134-B3), pursuant to a court order (ARS 11-1134-A5), a gift (ARS 11-1134-A7), or person and trustee/trustee to beneficiary (ARS 11-1134-B8). In all, Arizona law has over 14 exemptions listed that do not require you to complete an affidavit of legal value when filing your warranty or quit claim deed.
If either the grantor or grantee is a trust, then Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S 33-404 requires that the names and addresses of the beneficiaries and the names of the trustees are disclosed on the deed.
AZ Statewide Paralegal offers the convenience of submitting all of this information online. We use a secure online system that allows you to complete all the steps necessary for us to prepare your quit claim or warranty deed. Once we have received all of your information, we will prepare the deed for your signature. Because you must sign as the grantor in front of a notary, we offer in-office signing in Tucson, Phoenix, and Mesa. We then file the deed with the proper county recorder’s office. We have experience in all counties in Arizona, and we will ensure the correct process is followed.
You can also contact our office directly for an in-person appointment or consultation. We are certified by the Arizona Supreme Court for legal document preparation. Beyond just preparing your documents, we also provide complete case management for your legal document preparation. We go a step further to ensure that your experience with us and, most importantly, your experience with your legal matter exceed your expectations.