Don’t Prepare a Deed on Your Own

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The transfer of ownership of real estate is a complex process.  In fact, the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized that the preparation of a deed is considered the practice of law.  This means that non-attorneys are barred from preparing deeds on behalf of anyone other than themselves.

There are many deed forms available online, including some that are provided by the county government.  We would strongly encourage you against filling out and recording one of these forms yourself if you have little or no prior experience doing so.  Why, you ask?  There are many potential problems, just a few of which are discussed below.

The person transferring title is known in legal parlance as the grantor.  The person receiving title is known as the grantee.  The name of the grantor on any new deed must exactly match the name of the grantee on the last deed of record.  If the name of the grantor is listed incorrectly, you can create a title defect which may not be correctable in the future because the person signing the deed has died, become incompetent or otherwise be unavailable.

There are potential income tax consequences for transferring real estate.  It may create a capital gain for the grantor or a taxable gift to the grantee.  Also, any transfer of title that is not approved by a mortgage lender might or could be considered an act of default subject to foreclosure.

What if one of the people in title has passed away?  What needs to be done to reflect the death on the public land records to keep the chain of title clean and insurable?  Will the grantor be giving a warranty of title or just transferring whatever interest, if any, they may have in the real estate? These are all complex questions which require the help of a good real estate attorney.  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how to prepare a deed or how to properly transfer any interest in real estate.

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