Deeds: Informational Checklist

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Note/Warning: You will not be able to print a deed through the Form Library until you have all the information required in the questionnaire. All data must be submitted before the deed can be compiled and available for printing. If any data is missing, the information will be stored and you can log in at another time to complete the missing information and then print the document.

The following outlines the information required by the questionnaire you will complete to prepare a deed as well as other useful information which will assist you in the deed preparation:

1.  You will need a copy of the deed where you acquired your interest in the real property you now wish to convey.

If you do not have a copy of your deed, you can obtain a copy from the Office of the County Recorder where the property is located.  You can also telephone a title company in the County where the property is located and ask its customer service department, if they can provide you with a copy of your deed by giving them the property address or tax parcel number.

Most of the information required to prepare a deed in the Form Library can be found on your deed. The document preparation process will be more efficient, if you get this deed before proceeding.

2. When providing your name for the deed preparation, it should be entered the same way it appears on the deed when you acquired the property, for example:

  • The name on your deed says: John L. Smith.
  • Do not use a variation such as John Smith OR John Leon Smith OR J. L. Smith.
  • The name on your deed says: Mary D. Jones.
  • You are now married with a different last name.  A deed can be prepared that will show your new name and that you were formerly known under the prior name; however, the deed forms in this Library do not currently offer this option.  Please feel free to contact Cautela Corporation for further assistance.

3. Both the names of the grantee(s) and the grantor(s) on a deed should state the status of that person or entity. Looking at the current deed, you should see something like:

  • John L. Smith, an unmarried man OR
  • Mary D. Jones, a married woman as her sole and separate property, OR
  • Jane M. Brown, a single woman, OR
  • Smith & Jones, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company OR
  • Jones Brown, Inc., an Arizona corporation

The descriptions after the name (underlined in the examples) reflect the status of the person or business entity and are important in classifying ownership rights on real property.  The questionnaire will prompt you to select the appropriate status of a grantee or grantor when preparing a deed in the Form Library.

The deeds in this Form Library use the term “unmarried” for single persons; if your deed shows the status of the owner as a single man or woman; please use the “unmarried” selection provided in the questionnaire.

Occasionally you will find that a status has not been placed on a deed. Do select the appropriate status when preparing a deed in the Form Library even if it has not been shown on your current deed. Its omission on your current deed may or may not create an issue or question (at some future time) about the title. Most questions concerning ownership or the chain of title arise when the real property is being sold. At that time county records are researched by the title company which manages the closing for the sale of the real property. Corrections or clarifications may be required by the title company before it will insure the real property for the new owner. Please feel free to contact Cautela Corporation for further assistance or information, if you have concerns about the current deed.

4. You will need to type in the legal description of the real property. You will find the legal description on your current deed. The legal description must be accurate. The most common mistake made on a deed is in the legal description. Please copy this description from your deed very carefully and verify it after you have completed the deed. You will be able to make corrections to information submitted, if that is necessary.  Often legal descriptions are fairly short, such as:

Lot 13 of EL MAGICO, a subdivision of Pima County, Arizona, according to the map of record in the Pima County Recorder’s Office in Book 19 of maps and plats at page 23.

You may find that your legal description is more lengthy and involved; these descriptions are called a metes and bounds description and have very specific survey language.  It is especially important to double check the description before recording the deed, and often helpful to have someone read the description from the original deed to you as you confirm the description is accurately entered.

The property descriptions shown on county assessor’s valuation notices are summary descriptions only; you should obtain your property deed to accurately record the formal legal description of the real property.

5. It is a useful reference on a deed to state the property address; this information is optional in the questionnaire.

6. The questionnaire will prompt you to select an exemption code for the conveyance, if an exemption applies. You can also review these exemptions before beginning the questionnaire (see Exemptions Codes Page in Form Library). Unless your transaction is exempt from the requirement to file an Affidavit of Value, then the Affidavit must be filed with the deed when it is submitted to the County Recorder where the real property is located. The questionnaire will take you through a listing of exemptions for selection of an appropriate exemption. If there is not an exemption which applies to the conveyance, a link will be provided to a fillable form of Affidavit of Value that you can complete.

7. If the deed creates a title held in joint tenancy or as community property with rights of survivorship, both the grantor(s) and the grantees must sign the deed.

8. The deed can be signed at any location; it does not have to be signed where the real property is located. The questionnaire will have you enter information about where the parties will be executing the deed.  Each party who is required to sign the deed can sign at a different place and time; it is not necessary that all parties be present to sign at the same time.  For a party signing the deed in Arizona, you will be asked for the name of the county where that party will be when the deed is signed. If the deed will be signed outside of the state of Arizona, you will only need to enter the name of the state where the party will sign the deed.

9. A deed must be recorded with the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the real property is located to transfer the title on the county record.  See Deeds: Recording Information.