Named Top Lawyers in Las Vegas by Greenspan Media Group/Vegas, Inc., & Desert Companion
Prices for Doing Nevada Deed and Types of Deeds:
Part One: Prices
DEEDING PROPERTY INTO A TRUST FOR ESTATE PLANNING:
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 the terms below. Also, we occasionally are asked by a Trustee to draft a deed out of a trust. That is discussed at the end of this article. Here are terms for drafting a deed putting property into a trust.
- 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 $300 for the first deed and $200 for each additional deed (from the same grantors to the same trust) and this fee includes the recording of fee of $40. If there are more than 4 deeds from the same grantors to the same trust,then the fee for each deed after 4 will be $150. But, at the end of this section, under the caption "PROBLEM DEEDS" we discuss very rare deeds that are best handled by full-time real estate lawyers.
- If there is a legal description of a property on the Assessor's website in a Nevada County we will use only the legal description on the Assessor's website, even if the deed to the present owner contains different language. We will not state the marital status of grantors or grantees. If the transfer is into a trust we will name the trust as the grantor, not the "current trustees" of the trust. If the deed is to joint tenants we will use only the language, "to Jack and Jill as joint tenants," and we will not add language about rights of survivorship or husband and wife. These are our judgments of the best practices in Nevada and we will not do it differently because the client or referring attorney wants it done a different way. In certain cases we will check with the County Assessor as to their preferred way to phrase a deed. (The Recorder accepts the recording fee and any taxes due by the Assessor keeps the title records.)
- 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.
- NOTE: All necessary fees are paid when a deed is recorded. If we record a deed for you and you later receive a bill from some outfit seeking a fee, it is a scam.
- 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 $599. 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.
DEED PROPERTY OUT OF A TRUST AFTER THE GRANTOR DIES:
- We occasionally get a call from someone who says, "My Mom died and her house was in her trust and I need you to do a deed to transfer the house from the Trust to myself. This may or may not be a problem. The first questions we will ask is whether the trust favored the caller over other children and whether this deed transfer may lead to litigation over the trust. For example, if Mom had 3 adult children, and one was living with her and taking care of her, and the trust leaves everything to the caretaker this is always a complex situation which could lead to litigation, particularly if this issue was not anticipated in advance. Or, the trust might leave real estate equally to four adult children, but one adult child wants to buy the real estate at below market value. Again, this can lead to complications.
- However, assuming that it appears to be pretty straight forward, for example, Mom died and left her home in a trust which lists her sole adult child as the beneficiary, then we will do a deed. For the first deed we would charge $300 and we would charge $200 for each additional document. For example, we will need a Certificate or Affidavit of Incumbent Trustee saying that the adult child is now the present Trustee. If we have to prepare that, we charge an additional $200.
- Finally, we will check--or you can do this before calling us--and confirm by going to the Clark County Assessor's website (if the property is in the Las Vegas area)--that the property is indeed in the trust.
If the County Assessor's Website under the legal description contains the two letters PT this means the legal description is only a partial legal description. Usually the full legal description can be found in the deed to the current owner and the problem is readily solved. However, if the deed to current owner only contains a partial legal description this is a red flag that title insurance companies may refuse to issue title insurance on the property. In this case we do not want to do a deed and will refer you to a real estate specialist.
Part Two: Types of Nevada Deeds
JOINT TENANTS VS. TENANTS IN COMMON
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).
QUITLCAIM OR WARRANTY DEED
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.
IS THE OWNER A TRUST, CORPORATION OR INDIVIDUAL(S)
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).
TRANSFER ON DEATH DEEDS AND PROBLEMS WITH THEM
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."
A Transfer of Death Deed could be a cheap efficient way to avoid probate depending on circumstances. BUT here are some problems:
1) Many title insurance companies are refusing to issue a title insurance policy until the new owner has owned the property for 18 months after the grantor's death. In such a case, if the new owner wants to immediately sell the property, especially to a non-cash buyer, a probate can be done. (But this, of course, defeats the purpose of the transfer on death deed which was to avoid probate.)
2) When the transfer on death deed is recorded there is no real estate transfer fee. However, when the Grantor dies and the new owner files and an Affidavit of Death of the Grantor, there will be a real estate transfer tax due if the grantee and grantor are not husband and wife or parent and child. Putting the property in a Trust will avoid the new owner having to pay a real estate transfer tax regardless of the new owner's relationship to the grantor.
3) The Transfer on death deed cannot handle contingencies like a Trust can. For example, a Trust can specify that upon Dad's death the property is given to Daughter but if Daughter does not survive him, it is given to Daughter's children.
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. However, many other Nevada County Recorders still require a certified copy of the Order.
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 acts as a deed transferring title to the surviving joint tenant even though it is not a deed.
We charge $300 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 $200 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 along with an Assessor's Parcel Number:
TOWN & COUNTRY ESTATES
PLAT BOOK 32 PAGE 17
LOT 32 BLOCK 7
This nice compact legal description arises because some developer developed Town & Country Estates and filed a nice detailed description of each lot with the County Recorder. In this case, the precise boundaries of 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
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. With more difficulty, a timeshare deed can be ordered from the County Assessor. However, occasionally the current legal description of the timeshare will differ from the description on the deed because, for example, the timeshare company was changed. It has been our experience that if the timeshare is located OUTSIDE of Clark County, one can call the timeshare company and verify the up to date legal description. However, it has been our experience that the Las Vegas timeshare companies refuse to provide this assistance.
- Other Timeshare Deed Quirk: Typically, the County Recorder wants to see a block in the upper left of the first page of the Deed under the Parcel Number that says, "Send Tax Statement to:" followed by an address. If it is a timeshare deed it doesn't matter what address is given because the County Assessor will send one tax bill to the entire timeshare property regardless of what is on the deed. There is no legal requirement (other than the address as to where to send tax statements) for a deed to contain the address of either the grantor or the grantee. However, some timeshare companies impose their own requirement that a timeshare deed contains the address of the grantee in the deed. It is easier to include this address than to fight with 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
- Scammers: Sometimes scammers look at the public records of recorded deeds and write the new owner offering a copy of the new deed for some payment. This is a scam. You can go the County Assessor's website and print out your own copy if you don't already have one.
Part Five: Title Insurance:
In the "old days" if you wanted to buy real estate from Bill you would pay a lawyer to go the County Recorder's office and check that Bill actually owns the property and has a clear chain of title. Now, you buy Title Insurance.
Title Insurance Companies, like other insurance companies, try not to have to pay out. Your Title Insurance will exclude any problem with the title that could not be discovered by viewing the public records.
Mortgage companies and even most cash buyers want a Title Insurance policy. The chance of a Title Insurance Policy paying out is incredibly small but, remember, that before the policy was issued, the Title Insurance Company reviewed the chain of title of the property and in some cases they refuse to issue a policy. So you are mostly paying the Title Insurance Company to do the review work that the lawyer did in the "old days."
A policy of Title Insurance stays in effect as long as the person who bought the property and the policy owns the property.
The issue of Title Insurance comes up in our practice when a client, owning a home, hires us to write a Trust and want the home put in the Trust. We have to tell the client that when we transfer the home into the Trust this may void the Title Insurance policy. If the client wants they can check with the Title Insurance Company and possibly pay an additional fee to keep the policy in effect after the transfer to the trust.
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. After you get the mortgage you can then quitclaim the property into the Trust or have us do that for you.
Title Insurance Companies, of course, are out to make money and decline in some cases to write title insurance even if the chain of title is good, but the Title Insurance Company is afraid someone might challenge the title and then they would have the expense of defending the claim. Examples where Title Insurance Companies refuse to issue a policy include:
1) There have been a lot of deeds back in forth in a short period of time.
2) A quitclaim deed was recorded after the death of the grantor even though nothing in the law says this invalidates the deed.
3) Property passes by a Transfer on Death Deed as allowed by statute but less than 18 months have passed since the Grantor died.
In the latter two cases sometimes doing an "unnecessary" probate is the cheapest and fastest way to clean up title in a fashion that will allow the property to be sold with the buyer be able to purchase Title Insurance.