Deeds are written documents used to transfer title to real estate. In legal terms, the owner (or owners) giving up the title is the "grantor"; the new owner (or owners) taking title is the "grantee." In Michigan, grantors use both warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds as tools for conveying title. Quitclaim deeds make no guarantees that the title is valid; warranty deeds offer the grantee more protection.
When a grantor conveys title to Michigan property with a general warranty deed, the RealEstateAgent.com states that the grantor is making the grantee certain guarantees: That there are no undisclosed claims or restrictions on the property; the grantee has received a valid title and the grantor is liable if someone challenges the title. A special warranty deed covers title problems for which the grantor is responsible; a general warranty deed also protects against problems caused by previous owners.
A warranty deed must include the legibly written or printed names of all grantees and grantors, Michigan law states. The deed must identify the property by its address and the legal description recorded in the county where the property is located. The description is usually by platting in towns and cities and by boundaries in rural areas. The deed must be signed by the grantor and acknowledged and sealed by a notary; Michigan doesn't require signatures from the grantee or from witnesses.
Along with the deed, the grantor must also file a property-transfer affidavit, which confirms the transfer of title, and a real estate transfer tax affidavit, which provides information about the property's taxable value. In some cases, the grantor may be exempt from filing them, USLegalForms.com states. If the title is conveyed from a deceased person's estate, the deed must be accompanied by a death certificate, the Macomb County Registry of Deeds states.
Once the deed has been drafted, signed and notarized, the grantor must record it at the county deed registry. A deed is legally binding on the grantor and grantee even if it isn't recorded, but recording makes the change in ownership -- and who owes property taxes for the land -- part of the public record. In Michigan, the Wayne County government states, the registry doesn't keep the deed. Instead, it makes a copy and stamps the original with an indicator of where the records are kept in the registry files.