I. Deed Form
There are three basic types of deeds: a Warranty Deed, a Special Warranty Deed, and a Quitclaim Deed. Section 689.02 of the Florida Statutes contains a prescribed form of Warranty Deed. Depending on your situation, you may or may not want to use that form. You should consult with an attorney about using the proper form of deed for your particular situation.
II. The Grantor (aka the Owner or the Seller)
The Grantor, or his or her authorized agent, must affix his or her signature to the deed. If the Grantor is married, but the property is titled only in the Grantor’s name, then the Grantor’s spouse may be required to join in the execution of the deed under Florida’s homestead laws. The Grantor’s name should be legibly printed, stamped or typed below his or her signature and his or her address should also be legibly printed, stamped or typed in the deed. In addition, the Grantor’s name should match his or her name as it appeared in the deed which vested title in the Grantor. In other words, if the vesting deed indicates that title was conveyed to “John Smith”, then the Grantor’s name in the deed conveying the title out of the Grantor and into the Grantee should read “John Smith”. The Grantor’s marital status should also be stated in the deed.
III. The Grantee (aka the Buyer)
The Grantee’s name, address and marital status should be legibly printed, stamped or typed in the deed. If there is more than one Grantee, then the type of tenancy should be stated. There are three basic types of tenancies in Florida: tenancy by the entireties, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, and tenancy in common. You should consult with an attorney about using the proper tenancy for your particular situation.
IV. The Witnesses
Two witnesses are required to witness the Grantor’s signing of the deed. The witnesses should be in the Grantor’s presence when he or she signs the deed. The witnesses should not sign a deed that was signed by the Grantor out of their presence. The witnesses’ names should be legibly printed, stamped or typed below their signatures. A Grantor or Grantee cannot witness the deed. Witnesses should be 18 years or older and of sound mind.
V. The Notary
The deed should be recorded after it is executed. To record the deed, it must be acknowledged by the Grantor and notarized by a notary. The notary who notarizes the deed may also act as one of the witnesses. However, the notary must affix his or her signature to an area of the deed that clearly indicates that he or she is acting as a witness to the deed. If the notary’s signature is affixed to the notary block alone, that will be insufficient to show that the notary also acted as a witness. If the notary is acting as a witness, he or she will sign the deed twice: once as a witness and once as the notary. The deed should be executed and witnessed in the notary’s presence.
VI. The Preparer
The name and post office address of the person who prepared the deed should be legibly printed, stamped or typed on the deed.
VII. Delivery and Recording
Title to the property is conveyed only after the deed is executed and delivered to the Grantee. Delivery may occur by handing the executed deed to the Grantee or the Grantee’s agent. Other actions may also constitute delivery. The deed should be recorded in the public records of the county where the property is located as soon as possible after it has been executed and delivered. See Florida Statutes, Section 695.26 for more information about the proper deed format for recording.
Executing a deed is not a simple matter, though non-lawyers routinely draft and record their own deeds in Florida. A simple error or ambiguity in a deed can cause the entire conveyance to be invalid and therefore render whatever estate planning or asset protection strategy you are trying to implement useless. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a qualified attorney when executing a deed.
The foregoing information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be legal advice. You should hire a qualified attorney to assist you with all of your legal matters.
F.S. §§ 689.01 et al.