Named Top Lawyers in Las Vegas by Greenspan Media Group/Vegas, Inc., and Desert Companion
Prices for Doing Nevada Deed and Types of Deeds:
Part One: Prices
We are often asked by out of state trust attorneys to draft a deed of Nevada property to an out of state trust. We are glad to do so for all counties in Nevada on these terms:
- We will draft the deed, send it to out of state counsel for the client's notarized signature, and then when it is mailed back to us record it and mail it back to either the client or the referring law firm.
- If there is no real estate transfer tax due, Nevada Real Estate Transfer Tax our fee is $225 for the first deed and $140 for each additional deed (from the same grantors to the same trust) and this fee includes the recording of fee of about $18-20. Transfers into or out of a trust are currently exempt from a real estate transfer tax, but we need a copy of the trust, or preferably a copy of the Certificate of Trust, to avoid the transfer tax. This also assumes that there is not a $25 non-conforming fee charged. This fee can be avoided if the deed is completely blank (no parts of signatures or notary seals) with respect to the one inch margin all around the deed and with respect to a three inch square on the upper right corner of the first page of the deed and providing the deed is printed on standard thickness white paper in black ink. Often clients sign a deed with a large signature that invades the one inch margin and often notaries place their seal within the one inch margin. When either happens, there is the $25 non-conforming "gotcha fee." In addition, to avoid the $25 non-conforming fee, the deed must be on standard thickness white paper of the type you would buy for a copy machine. Fancy, thick, or off white paper that some lawyers consider "classy" will incur the $25 non-conforming fee. Text must be in black. A full list of requirement is set out in N.R.S. 247.110 and N.R.S. 247.305 authorizes the $25 non-conforming fee. Clark County is so picky that a handwritten correction on the deed in blue ink will trigger the $25 non-conforming fee. Unfortunately California has now gone to a universal notary page that has less than one inch margins all around so figure that any deed with a California notarization will trigger the $25 non-conforming fee. In many states notaries have a stamp or seal that they automatically place close to the edge of the document, thereby triggering the $25 non-conformity fee.
- NOTE: We pride ourselves on offering outstanding value for our clients with uncontested probates and our clients involved in motor vehicle accidents through no fault of their own. (See our website, www.accidentawardslasvegas.com). Are our fees for deeds good value considering that some people get deed forms off the internet or can get deeds done cheaper by using a paralegal? That is a hard question. We are not set up to have competent non-lawyers write deeds. We are not the most cost effective provider of deeds. If I were running a business to write a large volume of deeds I would run it much differently than my family firm.
- Sometimes it is necessary to file an Affidavit of Death. This could be done if one of two joint tenants dies in which case the Affidavit serves to transfer title from both to the surviving joint tenant. A certified copy of the death certificate would be filed with the affidavit. Or, in the case of a Transfer on Death deed, discussed below, an Affidavit of Death would be filed with a death certificate proving that the grantor died and that the property now goes to the grantees. Our charge for filing this is the same as for filing a deed.
- If the deed is for anything other than a timeshare, we will check the legal description against online data bases and insure accuracy of the legal description. If the deed is for a timeshare there are no public records to check and we rely on the client or forwarding law firm for an accurate legal description. Some timeshare companies will verify the current legal description with a simple phone call; some are very difficult and time consuming to deal with. Timeshare legal descriptions can and occasionally do change over time so that copying a legal description off the purchase deed does not always give one the correct legal description.
- Timeshare companies charge their own title transfer fees. We have noted a range of $50 to $399. If we do a timeshare deed, our services end when we send the client or out of state law firm a copy of the deed tranferring title recorded by the appropriate County Recorder.
- The forwarding law firm and client sign a letter confirming that Reed & Mansfield has no responsibility for reviewing the trust.
We need the following information to draft and record a deed:
- The names of the grantors and grantees as well as other names they may have used on other legal documents
- The deed needs an address for the County Assessor to send annual tax bills to. For timeshares, this is usually the timeshare company which prefers to pay the tax and pass it along to the customer with the annual maintenance fee. For all other deeds we need an address for the annual tax bill.
- The filing coversheet which becomes part of the public record asks for the addresses of one grantor and one grantee.
- Many clients are happy to have their residential addresses included in the deed and cover sheet. Advantages are:
- A. The residential address is usually the best address for receiving the annual tax bill, and
- B. Arguably an address on the deed minimizes the chance of an imposter giving a deed to the property.
However, some clients may prefer not to make their residential address a matter of public record. Other clients feel that with all of material on the internet and all of the various commercial search services available residential addresses are not realistically secret anymore.
In any event, I need to know what addresses to supply for the requirements in paragraphs 2 and 3.
Finally, unless the transfer will be exempt from the real estate transfer tax--the most common exemptions are transfer into or out of a trust w/o consideration or transfer between husband and wife or between parent and child--we will need proof of the purchase price to be able to calculate the real estate transfer tax. Nevada's Real Estate Transfer Tax and the exemptions to are discussed at our webpage: Nevada Real Estate Transfer Tax
If the deed is in Clark County (which includes Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, North Las Vegas and Mesquite, among other cities) the County Recorder instantly records the deed and hands it back. Ditto for Nye County whose largest city is Pahrump, an hour's drive away from Las Vegas. However, Washoe County which includes Reno, takes several weeks to mail back proof of a recorded deed.
Part Two: Types of Nevada Deeds
The first choice, if there is more than one owner is whether the deed should be "joint tenants" or "tenants in common." If one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant(s) automatically become the owner(s) of the property, including the dead joint tenant's share. If two or more people own property as tenants in common, if one tenant in common dies, the share of the dead tenant in common must go thru probate. Incidentally, tenants in common do not have to own equal shares. (Actually, if one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant(s) should file an "Affidavit of death" with death certificate attached with the County Recorder stating the joint tenant died. This shows that title is now with the surviving joint tenant(s).
The second choice, is whether the grantor of the deed gives a quitclaim deed or a warranty deed. A quitclaim deed simply gives whatever interest the owner or donor has to the purchaser or donee. A warranty deed states that the owner gives good title and the owner can be liable for not giving good title.
The third choice is whether one or more individuals own the property or the property is owned by a trust or corporation. Property is typically transferred to a trust so that upon the death of the trust writer the property will pass without probate to the intended heir(s).
The fourth choice is whether the deed transfers a current interest or only transfers an interest upon the death of the grantor(s). N.R.S. 111.655 and the following sections are Nevada's Real Property Transfer on Death Uniform Act which is basically a transfer on death deed. This deed must be recorded prior to the death of the grantor and can be revoked at any time prior to the grantor(s)' death. It can be used to avoid probate. Transfer on death deeds do not show up on the Clark County Assessor's website until someone files an Affidavit of Death (of the Grantor) but should show up on the Clark County Recorder's website, although they might be designated either "Transfer on Death Deed" or "Deed."
Part Three: Deed Substitutes
A Probate Court's Order transferring title upon death acts as a "deed," vesting title in the person inheriting, even though the Order is not a deed.
Until the spring of 2014 the Clark County Recorder wanted to see a certified copy of a court order transferring title to property. Now, however, they will record a regular court order provided that the order has the court's file stamp indicating the order was filed.
If two people hold title to real estate as joint tenants and one dies, the surviving joint tenant can obtain title to the property by filing an "Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant" along with a death certificate. This document as a deed transferring title to the surviving joint tenant even though it is not a deed.
We charge $200 to do an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant once the certified copy of the death certificate is provided. If the death certificate is not in English a translation will be required and there will be an additional charge of $100 plus you will have to provide an official translation. These fees include government filing fees.
Part Four: Common Problems with Recording Deeds
The following are some problems we have encountered in recording deeds in the different counties of Nevada:
- Statement Concerning Social Security Numbers: Presently Clark County does not require any statement as to whether a deed contains a social security number, but many other Nevada counties have a form that must be filed stating whether or not the document to be filed contains a social security number, and if so, the authority for including the social security number.
- Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant: If, for example, two people own a parcel of real estate in joint tenancy and one of them dies, the survivor owns the property and the way this is shown in the real estate record is that the surviving joint tenant files an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant with a certified copy of the death certificate of the dead joint owner attached. The Affidavit is signed either by the surviving joint owner or their lawyer and simply says that the property became 100% owned by the survivor when one of the two joint owners died. A certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased joint tenant is attached. Presently Clark County does not require this Affidavit to state which document created the joint tenancy, but some other Nevada counties such as Elko require that the Affidavit make reference to the document which created the joint tenancy.
If an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant is needed along with a deed, there will be an additional $140 charge for the Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant.
- Partial Lot Descriptions: In Clark County and some other Nevada Counties a typical legal description might be of this form:
TOWN & COUNTRY ESTATES
PLAT BOOK 32 PAGE 17
LOT 32 BLOCK 7
SEC 12 TWP 16 RNG 67
This nice compact legal description arises because some developer developed Town & Country Estates and filed nice detailed description of each lot with the County Recorder. In this case, the precise boundaries of Lot Lot 32 in Block 7 are found in Plat Book 32 at Page 17. Occasionally it happens that a parcel of real estate will consist of one or more partial lots. In other words, after the developer divided everything into lots, some people subdivided a lot. In this case the legal description found at the County's own website might read as follows:
TOWN & COUNTRY ESTATES
PLAT BOOK 32 PAGE 17
PT LOT 32 BLOCK 7
SEC 12 TWP 16 RNG 67
In this case, the PT (bolded in this article for emphasis) means part of Lot 32. But this will not be a sufficient legal description. Rather, a sufficient legal description must explain exactly which part of Lot 32 is meant.
- Timeshare Legal Descriptions: Except when dealing with timeshares, legal descriptions are available on county websites or can be clarified with a call to the County Assessor or Recorder. Typically, Nevada counties delegate keeping timeshare records to the timeshare company and the best source of the current legal description of the timeshare is the timeshare company.
- Just Because a Deed is Accepted for Filing, Does not Mean it Won't be Rejected Later: When a deed is presented at the window or in the mail for filing, the initial review is conducted by the County Recorder. The County Recorder looks to see if a real estate transfer tax is due, if so, how much, and is there a legal description. The County Recorder clerk may or may not notice any other defect in the deed. After the County Recorder accepts the deed for filing, the deed then gets reviewed by the County Assessor. The County Assessor then carefully examines the legal description in the deed. If the County Assessor feels that the legal description is inadequate, the County Assessor will then send a letter to the new owner stating the problem. If the County Assessor is going to find a problem with the legal description, that process usually takes two or three weeks, but we have seen as many as weeks go by between filing a deed and having the County Assessor ultimately reject it.
- Errors that Don't Matter: When a deed is filed a "Declaration of Value Form" is usually required to be filed. This is used to either determine the real estate transfer tax that must be paid or to state which exemption to paying that tax applies. In the upper left corner the type of property, such as single family residence or condo must be checked. A mistake as to type of property is an error that won't effect your good title to the property. The deed itself should state where tax statements should be mailed to. For anything other than a timeshare, if this address is wrong you may not get your tax bill. However, tax statements on timeshares are sent to the timeshare company which pays the tax and then gets paid back out of the annual assessment it charges the timeshare owners. So, it doesn't really matter what a timeshare deed says as to where the tax bill should go.
- Real Estate Transfer Tax: We discuss the issue of whether a real estate transfer tax will be due when a deed (or a probate order transferring real estate) is recorded at Real Estate Transfer Tax
Part Five: Title Insurance:
No one wants to pay for property only to find out that the seller didn't really own it. Of course, with the exception of timeshares, in Nevada you can simply jump on the internet and see who the County Recorder or Assessor lists as the owner. This will almost always give you the right answer. But, there could be a case in which it doesn't. For example, Dad decides to give his home to Son. Dad deeds the house to his son who records the deed. The County Recorder accepts $18 as a filing fee and records the deed. Two weeks later Son sells the house to Flipper. Flipper checks the County Recorder's website and sees that Son owns house. Flipper pays Son. Two weeks later, see above paragraph, County Assessor determines that Dad's deed to Son has a faulty legal description. Flipper invests time and money fixing up the house and now wants to sell it. Now the County Recorder's website show that house is owned by dead Dad. Flipper tries to complain to Son who has left on a two year backpacking trip. Now Flipper doesn't have good title to the house he paid for and fixed up.
This explains why buyers often want to buy a policy of title insurance. The title insurance company will pay the buyer for their loss but only if the defect in title could have been discovered by examining the public records in the Recorder's or Assessor's Offices. In this case, an examination of the deed from Dad to Son would have shown to the trained eye the defective legal description and the Title Insurance should pay Flipper for his loss or for Flipper's legal expense in cleaning up title, perhaps, with a Quiet Title lawsuit. (Or, more realistically, the Title Insurance Company real estate clerks would have discovered the faulty legal description and refused to issue a Title Insurance Policy and Flipper would have backed out of the deal.)
So, as a practical matter:
- Title insurance involves someone scrutinizing the chain of title to pick up any defects.
- Usually any title problem not obvious from the public records isn't covered by title insurance. For example, if Son had forged Dad's signature on the deed, and then used a dishonest notary to notarize Dad's signature, usually the Title Insurance Company would not pay unless the forgery was obvious.
- Many title defects, if they are going to surface, will surface fairly soon after the last transaction.
However, title insurance lasts as long as the buyer who bought the policy and the property continues to own the property. Suppose, the owner then decides to set up a trust to avoid probate when he or she eventually dies and deeds the property into the trust. This may terminate the title insurance policy, depending on the policy. The probability of this being a realistic concern in most cases is vanishingly small. However, it is something to discuss with your trust attorney.
Generally, you cannot get a mortgage unless the property is your own name. If it is in the name of your trust, you probably won't get a mortgage. If you have a trust and you know that you will want to put the property into the trust after you get the mortgage, at the time you close on the house you can specify that you want a title insurance policy that will remain in effect after you transfer title of the property into the trust.