A deed of title (also referred to as “title deed”) is a legal instrument that is used to transfer title to real estate from one person to another. This basically means that full ownership to a piece of real estate is given to another person.

Generally, such a transfer occurs through means of a traditional real estate sale. However, title can be transferred in other ways as well, including a situation where someone gifts property to another person.

In most cases, the deed of title is classified as a general warranty deed. This is meant to guarantee that the holder of the deed is the legal owner of the property. This type of deed should not be confused with a deed of trust, as a deed of trust simply gives a lender or mortgage lender a lien on the property if a debt is owed.

What is the Difference Between Deed and Title?

Keep in mind that the actual deed itself and having title to the property have slightly different meanings. Below is a clarification of these terms:

  • Deed: A “deed” is the actual legal instrument or writing that conveys the ownership of property from one person to another. One of the documents you sign when you are buying a home is the deed to the home, which creates your right to claim ownership of the house.
  • Title: A “title” refers to a person’s legal relationship to the land they own and creates a right to that specific piece of property. For example, if you get a loan from a bank to purchase property, the bank will hold title to the property until the loan is paid off. Then the bank will then transfer the title to the home to you after the loan is paid in full.

How is a Transfer Completed?

Regardless of how the new owner obtained title to the property, a deed of title must be both referenced and recorded with the county recorder’s office. Recording the deed of title creates a written record of the property transfer and can prevent legal disputes in the future.

What Happens if There is a Legal Dispute Over the Deed of Title?

Determining who the previous owner was can be a common dispute. This can hold up the pending sale and may result in a lawsuit. In such cases, it may be necessary to perform a search of the title deed records, so that the parties can view the “chain of title,” which is the history of ownership of the property in question. This can help clarify who is actually entitled to own the property.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Deeds of Title?

If you have a legal issue relating to a deed of title and you do not already have an attorney assisting you with the sale, you should consider contacting a local real estate attorney. An experienced attorney can help explain the laws of your state, perform a title search (if needed) and represent your interests if you go to court.