Michigan Real Estate Deeds

In Michigan, a conveyance of land or interest in land is made by a deed in writing, which is then signed and sealed by the person from whom the estate or interest is intended to pass (565.1). A conveyance, as defined by statute, embraces every instrument in writing by which any estate or interest in real estate is created, assigned, alienated, or mortgaged, or by which the title to any real estate may be affected in law or equity, except wills, leases for a term of not more than three years, and executory contracts for the sale or purchase of lands (565.35). The Michigan statutes provide a warranty deed form and a quitclaim deed form that can be used in a conveyance of real property.

A person must be of lawful age in order to enter into a conveyance of real property in this state. The Michigan statutes address issues of alien ownership, married ownership, and individual ownership of property, among other issues. Aliens in this state may hold and acquire land or any right or interest therein, by purchase, devise, or descent, and may also convey, mortgage, and devise the same. If he or she dies intestate, the property will descend to the heirs, and in all cases, the land shall be held, mortgaged, conveyed, or devised, or shall descend in like manner and with the same effect as if he or she were a resident of the United States (554.135). Aliens who are residents of Michigan will enjoy the same rights and privileges pertaining to real property as would citizens of the state. When a married person who does not reside in Michigan joins in a conveyance of real estate with his or her spouse for real estate situated in Michigan, the conveyance will have the same effect as if he or she were not married, and the acknowledgement or proof of the execution of the conveyance may be the same as if he or she were not married (565.13). A grant or conveyance of lands or of interest therein will not be void for the reason that, at the time of execution, such land was in the actual possession of another person claiming adversely (565.7). The way in which real property is conveyed will be determined by the type of ownership and the owner's intentions.

The grantor to a real estate deed needs to have his or her original signature on the deed when it is presented for recording. Deeds executed within Michigan should be acknowledged before any judge, clerk of a court of record, or notary public within the state. When the officer takes the acknowledgement, he/she should endorse a certificate of acknowledgment on the deed, and the true date the acknowledgement was taken (565.8). The notary public's original signature must also be present on the deed. If a deed is executed in another state, it may be executed according to the laws of such state; and the execution of the deed may be acknowledged before a judge of a court of record, notary public, justice of the peace, or other officer authorized by the state to take acknowledgements of deeds. In the form of the deed, it is necessary to provide the marital status for any grantors or other parties executing the instrument (565.221). Section 565.201 of the Michigan Statutes lists requirements pertaining to the format and creation of a real estate deed.

Every conveyance of real estate in Michigan which is not recorded as provided is void as to a subsequent purchaser in good faith and for a valuable consideration, of the same real estate or portion thereof, whose conveyance is first duly recorded. The fact that the first recorded conveyance is in the form of or contains the terms of a quitclaim and release does not affect the question of the good faith of the subsequent purchaser, or be of itself notice to him of any unrecorded conveyance of the same real estate or portion thereof (565.29). Real estate deeds should be recorded with the register of deeds in the county where the property is located. If a grantor neglects or refuses to record a deed or deliver it to the grantee after having been requested to do so within the requested time limit, he will be liable to the grantee, his heirs, representatives, or assigns for a penalty fee and also for the actual damages occurring from the neglect or refusal to the persons entitled thereto, to be recovered in an action on the case with costs of suit (565.292).