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How to transfer a house deed to a family member

Transfer of any real property, including a house located on the real property, must be done according to the statute of frauds. The deed to transfer the real property can be a general warranty deed (which protects against both past actions and future actions), the special warranty deed (which protects the transferee from any defects that occurred while the person had the property) and a quitclaim deed, which transfers only the person's interest in the property and nothing more.

Comply with the statute of frauds by including the necessary elements in a deed. A deed must be written and must identify the grantee. The grantee is the person to whom the property is being deeded. The grantee can be a family member. Simply identifying the grantee with their name and birth date usually will suffice. The deed should also identify the property being transferred. This description can be as simple as an address or as complex as a full legal description of the metes and bounds of the land.

Deliver the deed to the grantee. It must be accomplished for a successful transfer to take place. Giving the grantee the written deed with intent that the grantee be entitled to the property is enough; this is called an actual delivery. Conditioning the transfer on some future event is not an effective delivery.

Accept the deed. The grantee must accept the deed and accept ownership rights in the property. Generally, this is not an issue, but it is still a necessary step in transferring a deed to a grantee.

Record the deed in the local registry of deeds. Once a transfer of real property has been effectuated, the grantee should record the deed at the registry of deeds in the county where the land is located. Recording a deed puts all subsequent purchasers of the land on notice that the property is now in the grantee's name. Recording a deed also solidifies the necessary elements of delivery and acceptance.


  • This article was written for informative purposes only. It does not give legal advice. Readers should seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for all their property law issues. Do not rely on this article for legal advice.