Minnesota Real Estate Deeds

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Definition

In Minnesota, a deed is a document executed in writing by which a real property owner evidences an intended transfer of real property interests to another, which transfer is complete upon either:

  • the delivery of the deed to the grantee, or
  • the filing of the deed in the appropriate county real estate office,

depending upon the type of real property to be conveyed.

Minnesota Conveyance – Definition

When used in regard to real property, the term “conveyance” includes all written documents by which a real estate interest is:

  • created,
  • subjected to a mortgage or other encumbrance,
  • transferred to a third-party, or

by which the title to the real property may otherwise be affected, except for:

  • Wills,
  • short-term leases having a term of less than three years, and
  • powers of attorney.

Minnesota Deeds of Conveyance

In Minnesota, deeds of conveyance include:

  • Warranty deeds;
  • Quitclaim deeds;
  • Limited Warranty deeds;
  • Personal Representative’s deeds;
  • Trustee’s deeds;
  • Transfer on Death Deeds; and
  • Deeds of Easement.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Warranty Deeds

The execution, delivery, and filing of a Minnesota Warranty Deed in the appropriate county real estate office will both:

  • evidence a completed conveyance of real property from a grantor to a grantee, and
  • impose certain statutory covenants of title upon the grantor(s) for the benefit of the grantee(s) – even if the deed itself contains no recitation of such covenants.

Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.07 provides sample conveyancing language for Warranty Deeds, similar to the following:

Buck E. Badger, Grantor, for valuable consideration, conveys and warrants to Gold E. Gopher, Grantee, the following described real property located in the County of Hennepin, in the State of Minnesota: . . .

(i)    Warranties of Title

Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.07, Minnesota Warranty Deed grantors not only “convey” real property title to the grantee, but also provide the following covenants to the grantee relating to the title, not only on their own behalf, but also on behalf of their heirs and personal representatives:

A.  that the grantor

  • is lawfully seized of the premises in fee simple (the covenant of seisin – ownership), and
  • has good right to convey the same (the covenant of right to convey);

B.  that the premises are free from all encumbrances (the covenant against encumbrances);

C. that the grantor warrants to the grantee, and to the grantee’s heirs and assigns, the quiet and peaceable possession thereof (the covenant of quiet enjoyment); and

D. that the grantor will defend the title to the real property conveyed against all persons who may lawfully claim the same (the covenant of warranty).

(ii)     Parties Providing the Warranties of Title

The above identified covenants are statutorily imposed upon all Warranty Deed grantors, and their heirs and personal representatives.

(iii)    Breach of Warranties of Title

A breach of any of the statutory title covenants (warranties), can result in a money damages claim by the grantee(s) against the grantor(s).

(iv)    Title Exceptions

If the terms of a purchase agreement or other circumstances allow, the grantor of a Minnesota Warranty Deed should identify in the deed certain encumbrances or other title matters which the grantee will take title subject to upon delivery or filing of the deed.

Examples of such encumbrances or other title matters include the following:

  • Covenants, conditions, restrictions, declarations, and easements of record;
  • Reservation of minerals, or mineral rights by the State of Minnesota, or others;
  • building, zoning, and subdivision laws and regulations;
  • the lien of real estate taxes and installments of special assessments due and payable in the year 20xx and thereafter.

(v)     Duty to Disclose Known Encumbrances

Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.20 identifies that with respect to all Minnesota conveyances made pursuant to a deed, the grantor must disclose to the grantee the existence and nature of all known title encumbrances.

Such disclosures are typically made in that section of the deed in which the permitted exceptions to the warranties of title are identified.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Quitclaim Deeds

A Minnesota Quitclaim Deed does not provide any of the statutory covenants of title which are provided by a Minnesota Warranty Deed.

In addition, the interest conveyed by the grantor in a Minnesota Quitclaim Deed:

  • is limited to that which the grantor held at the time of execution of the deed, and
  • does not extend to any title interest acquired thereafter – unless the deed contains an “after-acquired title” clause.

Therefore, a Minnesota Quitclaim Deed typically conveys to the grantee only the grantor’s present right, title, and interest in the real property, and does not provide any warranties of title to the real property.

Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.07 provides sample conveyancing language for Quitclaim Deeds, similar to the following:

Buck E. Badger, Grantor, for valuable consideration, conveys and quitclaims to Gold E. Gopher, Grantee, all interest in the following described real property located in the County of Hennepin, in the State of Minnesota: . . .

(i)    Quantity of Title Conveyed

Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.06 provides that a quitclaim and release (deed) shall be sufficient to pass all of the estate – including a fee simple title – which the grantor could convey by a “deed of bargain and sale”.

Historically, at common-law a “deed of bargain and sale” was a form of deed:

  • effective to convey real property title to a grantee, and not just convey the interests of the grantor in the real property; but
  • without providing any warranties of title.

A fee simple title is the most complete title ownership interest recognized in Minnesota.

(ii)    Common Uses for Quitclaim Deeds

Minnesota Quitclaim Deeds are the preferred form of conveyancing document in various situations, including the following:

  • To transfer real property interests between former spouses pursuant to a divorce decree;
  • To convey real property title to a grantee in those situations where the grantor had only received title pursuant to a Quitclaim Deed, or Limited Warranty Deed; and
  • In order to voluntarily clear up irregularities, or “clouds on title”, relating to possible adverse ownership or other real property interests or encumbrances – commonly including those relating to boundary disputes.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Limited Warranty Deeds

Minnesota Limited Warranty Deeds – often used by banks and railroads – represent a compromise between Minnesota Warranty Deeds, and Minnesota Quitclaim Deeds, since they provide:

  • fewer covenants of title than a general Warranty Deed,
  • but greater covenants of title than a Quitclaim Deed.

The grantor of a Minnesota Limited Warranty Deed covenants that the grantor did not do anything to adversely affect the title to real property, but does not covenant that there are no unresolved title issues originating prior to the ownership of the real property by the grantor.

Minnesota Limited Warranty Deeds often contain an after-acquired title provision.

Minnesota Uniform Conveyancing Forms provide sample conveyancing language for Limited Warranty Deeds, similar to the following:

Buck E. Badger, Grantor, for valuable consideration, conveys and quitclaims to Gold E. Gopher, Grantee, the following described real property located in the County of Hennepin, in the State of Minnesota: . . . 

This deed conveys after-acquired title. 

Grantor warrants the grantor has not done or suffered anything to encumber the property, EXCEPT:

Therefore, the grantor of a Minnesota Limited Warranty Deed provides no covenants regarding title matters which existed before the grantor received ownership of the property.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Personal Representative’s Deed of Sale

Minnesota Personal Representative’s Deeds of Sale are often used to convey title to someone who purchases real property from an estate.

Minnesota Uniform Conveyancing Forms provide sample conveyancing language for Personal Representative’s Deeds of Sale, similar to the following:

Buck E. Badger, as Personal Representative of the Estate of I. O. Wa, Decedent, Grantor, conveys and quitclaims to Gold E. Gopher, Grantee, the following described real property located in the County of Hennepin, in the State of Minnesota: . . .

Note that there are no covenants of title provided in a Minnesota Personal Representative’s Deed of Sale, and no after-acquired title provision.

However, if a purchase agreement for Minnesota real property sold by a Personal Representative on behalf of an estate requires a Warranty Deed at closing, the Personal Representative may be obligated to provide the purchaser with a Warranty Deed, which would include all of the statutory covenants of title.

Such an obligation should be avoided by the Personal Representative by including an appropriate provision in the purchase agreement to only require the Personal Representative to provide a Minnesota Personal Representative’s Deed of Sale at closing.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Trustee’s Deeds

Minnesota Trustee’s Deeds are often used to convey title to someone who purchases real property from one or more trustees acting on behalf of beneficiaries of a trust.

The Minnesota Uniform Conveyancing Forms provide sample conveyancing language for Trustee’s Deeds, similar to the following:

Buck E. Badger, as trustee of the South E. Dakota Trust dated January 1, 1901, Grantor, conveys and quitclaims to Gold E. Gopher, Grantee, the following described real property located in the County of Hennepin, in the State of Minnesota: . . .

Note that there are no covenants of title provided in a Minnesota Trustee’s Deed, and there is no after-acquired title provision.

However, if a purchase agreement for Minnesota real property sold by a trust requires a Warranty Deed, the trustees may be obligated to provide the purchaser with a Warranty Deed, which would incorporate all of the statutory covenants of title.

The trustees should avoid such an obligation by including an appropriate provision in the purchase agreement to only require the trustees to provide a Minnesota Trustee’s Deed at closing.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Transfer on Death Deeds

Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.071 authorizes the use, and identifies the effect, of Transfer on Death Deeds, by providing as follows:

A deed that

  • conveys or assigns an interest in real property, . . . to a grantee beneficiary and that
  • expressly states that the deed is only effective on the death of one or more of the grantor owners,

transfers the interest to the grantee beneficiary upon the death of the grantor owner upon whose death the conveyance or transfer is stated to be effective, but subject to the survivorship provisions and requirements of section 524.2-702.

Minnesota Statutes, Section 507.071 also provides sample conditional conveyancing language for Transfer on Death Deeds, similar to the following:

Buck E. Badger, Grantor Owner, hereby conveys and quitclaims to Gold E. Gopher, Grantee, effective on the death of the Grantor Owner, the following described real property located in the County of Hennepin, in the State of Minnesota: . . .

Minnesota Transfer on Death Deeds are discussed in further detail elsewhere on this web site.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Deeds of Easement

An easement is the right of one or more persons to use the real property of another for some limited purpose.

Easements can be created in Minnesota by the following documents:

  • Warranty deeds;
  • Quitclaim deeds;
  • Limited Warranty deeds;
  • Declaration of Easement; or

Easement Agreement

The creation of easements often requires the assistance of a licensed surveyor in order to provide a legal description for the easement to be conveyed or declared, and perhaps for the grantor’s entire parcel as well.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Execution and Acknowledgment Requirements

In addition to containing:

  • words of conveyance,
  • a proper legal description, and
  • where applicable, statements regarding encumbrances,

all Minnesota deeds must be signed by the grantor(s), and acknowledged before a notary public.

(i)    Acknowledgments

Minnesota Statutes, Section 358.41(2) defines the term “Acknowledgment” to mean:

a declaration by a person that the person has executed an instrument . . . for the purposes stated therein and, if the instrument . . . is executed in a representative capacity, that the person

  • signed the instrument with proper authority and
  • executed it as the act of the person or entity represented and identified therein.

An acknowledgment for an individual would take the following form:

This instrument was acknowledged before me on ……….(date) by ………………..(name(s) of person(s)).

In addition, with respect to Minnesota deeds, the acknowledgment would usually identify the marital status of the party making the acknowledgment.

(ii)    Spousal Signature Requirements

In Minnesota, both spouses must generally sign any conveyance with respect to real property which is owned exclusively by either spouse, in order to release any non-title marital interest a spouse may have in the real property.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Identification of Taxpayer

In order to be recordable, a Minnesota deed must contain the name and address of the grantee(s) who are to receive the real property tax statement – unless the deed was executed or acknowledged outside of the State of Minnesota.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Identification of the Document Drafter

In order to be recordable, a Minnesota deed must contain the name and address of the person who drafted the document – unless the deed was executed or acknowledged outside of the State of Minnesota.

Minnesota Real Estate Deeds – Deed Delivery and Filing

In order to be effective between the grantor and the grantee, a deed relating to Minnesota real property which offers the abstract form of title evidence must:

  • not only be properly prepared, signed, and acknowledged,
  • but also delivered to the grantee – in a manner which evidences the grantor’s intent to transfer title to the real property.

The delivery requirement for deeds relates back to medieval England, when ownership of real property was transferred by:

  • passing a clod of earth from the current property owner to the new property owner, and
  • declaring that ownership of such real property had thereby been transferred to the new property owner.

However, with respect to registered “Torrens” real property, a Minnesota deed is not effective between the parties until it has been filed with the County Registrar of Titles – which provides conclusive evidence of the grantor’s intent to transfer title to the real property.

Minnesota Uniform Conveyancing Forms

While Minnesota “fill in the blank” deed legal forms can be obtained from many sources – including perhaps LegalDoom.com 🙂 – the preparation of deeds is best left to professionals.

Real estate brokers and title companies will often prepare real property deeds in conjunction with transactions they are brokering, or providing title insurance policies.

However, all other real estate deeds should be prepared by a licensed Minnesota real estate attorney, who can not only fill in the blanks properly, but also provide appropriate counsel regarding the legal effect, and perhaps the tax consequences, of the execution and delivery of the deed.

There is much that can go wrong with the preparation of a Minnesota deed, and mistakes can be difficult to correct.

This is not a good area for the do-it-yourselfer.

Conclusion – Minnesota Real Estate Deeds

Please contact Minnesota Attorney Gary C. Dahle for assistance with the preparation of any Minnesota real estate deed, at 763-780-8390, or gary@dahlelaw.com.

Copyright 2017 – All Rights Reserved

Gary C. Dahle – Attorney at Law

2704 County Road 10, Mounds View, MN 55112

Phone:  763-780-8390    Fax: 763-780-1735

gary@dahlelaw.com

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