Transferring real estate between family members is a common practice in Missouri. Perhaps money changes hands, perhaps the transfer of property is intended as a gift. Either way, there is no doubt that transfers of real estate between family members are prevalent. Often, but not always, transfers between family members are more cooperative, and less likely to be contested. For this reason, family members may not observe the same formalities that would normally be observed, which can sometimes lead to other issues, i.e. improper, unwise, or unplanned property transfers, or cloud on title.
That being said, family transfers of property are generally simple and easy. In Missouri, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the legal processes involved to avoid potential pitfalls and complications.
The Process of Property Transfer in Missouri
Property transfer generally requires a real estate deed in Missouri. There are many types of real estate deeds and types of conveyances. For a more comprehensive list of types of deeds and transfers, please see our webpage. There are also certain situations where property can pass by affidavit, or by Court Judgment, such as in probate cases.
The conveyance, or transfer, of real estate involves the shifting of ownership rights of a property from one party to another. This procedure of creating, signing, and recording a deed to transfer real estate rights is directed and governed by Missouri Law. These laws detail the necessary protocols and conditions under which these transfers must be conducted, and understanding and adhering to these laws will ensure a legally binding transfer of real estate. Some key elements of this process include the drafting, executing, and recording of the real estate deed in the county where the property is located.
Executing Deeds in Missouri
Executing a deed is one of the most important steps in the conveyance process, and includes the following.
- In Missouri, the deed needs to be signed by the Grantor (the person transferring the property) in front of a notary public. Please note, in some limited locations in Missouri, the Grantee must also sign, but this is not the norm throughout the State.
- The notary public then notarizes the deed, adding an extra layer of legal protection.
- Once the deed is notarized, it would generally be recorded at the county recorder’s office. Please note that a deed does not necessarily have to be recorded during the Grantor’s lifetime to be valid or effective, other than a Beneficiary Deed, which must be filed during the Grantor’s lifetime to be effective.
The execution and recording of deeds is not usually complicated, but the process certainly contains room for error. Hiring a legal professional certainly can increase the likelihood that you will encounter no problems during your family transaction.
Special Circumstances for Property Transfer in Missouri
While property transfer is often planned and deliberate, there are certain circumstances where unforeseen situations may necessitate such a transfer in a quicker manner. In Missouri, these circumstances may involve familial relationships and challenging personal situations.
Circumstances Necessitating Property Transfer
There may be various reasons why a property transfer to a family member might be necessary.
- For instance, as parents age, they might transfer their property to their children to manage their estate or prepare for future healthcare needs or asset protection.
- In other cases, a family member might be moving out of state or abroad, and transferring property might be a way to keep it within the family.
- In the case of divorce, one spouse may be granted the other spouse’s interest in the property, necessitating a deed transfer.
It’s worth noting that while property transfers in these situations can provide a solution, they can also lead to legal complications. For example, any transfer done for purposes of avoiding a creditor, or hiding the property from a litigant, could be considered a “fraudulent conveyance” and may be impermissible, or could be later challenged, reversed, or undone. As another example, if real estate is gifted away by a person who needs to enroll in Medicaid or MoHealthNet, any such transfer can create complications or exclusions that disqualify that person from such benefits. These two examples further underline the importance of seeking legal advice before undertaking a family property transfer.
Regardless of the circumstances, it’s important to remember that any property transfer should only be done in compliance with Missouri Law. Professional guidance from a qualified real estate lawyer can help identify the best course of action in these particular circumstances and ensure a smooth property transfer process.
Working with a Real Estate Lawyer in Missouri
Working with a real estate lawyer in Missouri can significantly simplify the property transfer process. A lawyer can help draft a legally sound deed, explain the terms and conditions of the transfer, provide guidance during the execution of the deed, and ensure the proper recording of the deed with the county recorder’s office.
Navigating the Property Transfer Process in Missouri
Transferring property deeds between family members, while usually simple and straightforward, cna sometimes have hidden complications or pitfalls. There are many special situations that can require the need for professional guidance.
At Affordable Legal Services, LLC our experienced Real Estate and Estate Planning Attorneys can be of great assistance, stemming from a thorough understanding of Missouri’s property laws. We can ensure a seamless and efficient deed transfer process. Remember, information is the cornerstone of a successful property transfer. Don’t hesitate to seek counsel and educate yourself about your options.