prepared by Arden Law Firm’s experienced & licensed MD real estate attorney(s). Our real estate lawyers assist with deeds for Anne Arundel, Baltimore Co., Harford, Howard, Prince George, Montgomery and Worcester. licensed in Maryland only.
Maryland deeds go through a multi-step process before winding up indexed in Land Records. This usually involves 3-4 different government offices.
See if our experienced real estate attorney(s) can assist with your Maryland deed transfer. Provide a few basic details and we’ll see if we can help.
We believe in transparent, upfront and affordable pricing. Use our online estimator to get an idea of the likely deed costs / recording fees.
Quit Claim (“quick claim”) / No Consideration Deeds
Personal Representative / Estate / Inheritance Deeds
LLC liquidation / entity dissolution Deeds
Private party sales Deeds (without title insurance)
Life Estate (transfer on death) Deeds
Deeds to/from Revocable or Irrevocable Trusts
Name Change Deeds (note: a new deed is usually not mandatory after a name change)
Family Deeds (Parent/child; Husband/Wife; Brother/Sister; Grandparent/Grandchild)
The classic song “signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours” nicely summarize key deed components - a deed must be signed, sealed (or the modern equivalent notarized) and delivered for recording.
Maryland law requires a Certificate of Preparation and must be accompanied by county-specific forms as well as intake sheets. Since deed requirements vary state-to-state, county-to-county and by the nature of the property (e.g., leasehold or fee simple) and In Maryland, the recording process typically involves presenting the deed for filing at 2-4 government offices (varies by county) for stamping and approval before the deed is recorded in the Land Records. Arden Law knows the process and nuances of most Maryland counties.
Deeds ought at a minimum identify the parties, how they will hold title, include an appropriate legal description and describe any warranty. A deed also identify how the title holder came to acquire their interest and may also include reference to covenants, easements and restrictions. This also must show how the the parties hold title (e.g., Tenants in Common, Joint Tenant, Life Tenants, etc.). Although deeds follow common structure, we urge extreme caution before using any form deeds in this state. Generally in MD deeds should be customized to the situation and the legal differences between slight title verbiage changes can be dramatic For example, we routinely see deeds where the accidental omission of a single phrase can require land to go through the probate process at considerable time and expense. There are some standarized forms that get filed with a deed (e.g., the Maryland Land Intake Sheet and Maryland Withholding Tax forms) although if you are not familiar with the process in your county it can be easy to omit a required form. Our law firm makes sure the necessary elements are included in deeds we prepare.
What is a Certificate of Preparation? Maryland law requires that deeds contain a certificate of preparation stating who prepared the deed. Individuals not licensed to practice law in this state may not prepare a deed for anyone else. A Certificate of Preparation attests that the document was prepared by an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. Every deed we prepare includes the necessary Certificate of Preparation by a Maryland Licensed Attorney.
In Maryland, a deed passes through several different offices and clerks hands for filing. So if a clerk accepts a deed, does that mean it is valid? Surprising to some, the fact that a deed is recorded does NOT mean it is legally valid!
Clerks check deeds for only specific things. While clerks will reject a deed without necessary affidavits or intakes, or one with transfer taxes calculated incorrectly, county clerks do NOT check deeds for legal sufficiency. It is sadly possible to record a deed with legal defects - “quit claim” deeds are notorious for this and legal issues often go unnoticed for years until the parties go to refinance or sell
Every deed in Maryland must get “stamps” at several different county offices before being submitted to Land Records. Assuming a deed has been properly prepared, has the Certification of preparation, land intake sheet, affidavits and other required forms (for example, municipal lien sheets and withholding forms), it must be presented at a series of county offices before filing. Our law firm can electronically submit (“e-file” or “e-record") most deeds, and we include the work to record a deed as a part of our customary flat fee services.
A: There are several ways to add children onto a property. There can be significant cons of adding children as co-owners. For example, you might unwittingly open up the property to claims of a child’s creditor or unnecessarily increase future capital gains tax. The first follow-up question an attorney should ask is: what are you trying to accomplish? If the primary goal is facilitate a streamless transfer on death or to avoid probate, you may want to talk to our attorney about a Life Estate Deed.
A: Maryland law has 2 planning types of deeds that avoid probate - one is a Deed into a Grantor’s Trust (this requires the creation of a separate trust instrument, such as a Revocable Living Trust, and another is the Life Estate Deed, a perhaps under used but very powerful tool to seamlessly transfer property on death. Maryland does not specifically call these deeds TOD / transfer on death deeds but they achieve the same purpose.
A: Every deed goes through a multi-step recording process in Maryland. Although the preliminary steps vary a bit by county, the last step of the process in every county is recording the deed with the Clerk in the Land Records office. Generally a deed must be signed, witnessed, notarized and be accompanied by county-specific forms and intake sheets before being presented at the various county offices. Our law firm can electronically submit most deeds which dramatically speeds the process. If you have questions about a specific county please give us a call.
A: If property is in a deceased person’s name, the first step is to open an estate. When the estate is ready to disburse, the Personal Representative should engage an attorney to prepare the deed of distribution to the heirs. Note that even though the Personal Representative submits an account with the Court / Register of Wills to show where the property is going, the transfer is not automatic - a deed still must be prepared and recorded in Land Records appropriately reflecting the change in ownership from the deceased person to his/her heirs. Our firm can assist with estate deeds throughout Maryland.
A: Most purchase deeds in Maryland include a SPECIAL WARRANTY. The Seller basically promises that they have not done anything to negatively affect the title to the property. (General warranties are common in other states).
A: To remove a co-owner, a new deed must be prepared and the person coming off title signs and notarizes the deed giving away their interest in the property. The deed needs to go through the recording process. Depending on the situation, the county/state may impose transfer and recordation taxes. It may also involve income tax withholdings.
A: While it is often not legally necessary to record a new deed to reflect a name change (e.g., pursuant to marriage or divorce), if your name changed and you’d like to have that reflected in the Land Records, you’d need a new deed prepared.
A: Some places sell (or post for free) forms for a deed transfer. We urge extreme caution in using such forms. If you instead are asking about government forms to accompany a deed, every deed requires a Maryland intake available from the Circuit Court as well as county-specific forms often supplied by the county treasurer’s office. Deeds may in some circumstances require additional forms from the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. Part of the benefit of working with an experienced real estate attorney is that they will know what forms apply when and ensure that they are used properly.
Deeds are not terribly complex but they are easy to “mess up”. Many forms sold in office supply stores, online, etc. are NOT Maryland based forms. A variety of issues can arise using a form not crafted for Maryland. For example, the form may give a warranty common in other states but NOT relevant in Maryland. Or they may not have a type of tilte holding available in this state. We urge particular caution with fill-in-the-blank generic (not state specifc) quit claim forms as these not uncommonly create “red flags” for title. Unless an attorney reviews your deed before you file, these issues will often lie dormant for years until an owner dies or wants to sell the property. Often title problems become more and more costly and difficult to fix with the passage of time.
A: No. A deed to reflect a name change is entirely optional. It is not mandated by law. So long as you have documentation of the name change you shouldn’t have a problem if you keep the deed as-is. (If you opt to record a new deed our firm can help).
Note that if you want your new spouse to inherit your home in event of your passing you might consider doing a life estate (transfer on death) deed.
A: That is a part domestic law, part real estate law question. Very generally speaking, property you own in your individual name before marriage and keep in your individual name should not become marital property just because you got married.
If you do a new deed to add your spouse as a co-owner, you own together and each co-owner has equal rights to the property. If a husband and wife own property together as tenants by the entirety, they automatically have survivorship rights. On divorce, such property splits in half so that each spouse owns 1/2 as tenant in common and the survivorship rights are severed at divorce.
A: A quit claim deed often leaves out necessary language but is not necessarily any cheaper to prepare! Lenders and realtors may generically refer to any no-consideration deed as a “Quit Claim” but a true quit claim (sometimes called quick claim) deed just says the peson signing is quitting or giving away what they may or may not own. In most cases a true " Quit Claim Deed" is rarely the best choice. Quit claims make sense where a possible owner isn’t sure what they own (e.g., a grandchild is one of 13 heirs who received a fractional interest in her grandmother’s estate and wants to give whatever she may have received to a cousin).
Our law firm can prepare quit-claims and other no-consideration deeds - you’re welcome to give us a call to see which might be right in your situation.
A: Possibly. It will depend on the county and specific circumstances. Standard deeds trigger transfer and recordation tax. If there is no mortgage and your child is not giving you any money for the property, a parent/child transfer is ordinarily fully exempt from tax. However, if there is a mortgage, some counties will impose a county transfer tax on parent/child deeds which can be several thousands of dollars.
If you are considering adding a child to title, you might want to consider instead a life estate deed (with powers). You’re welcome to contact our firm with questions.
A: The current owners (individuals) will need to convey (transfer) the property to the Trustees by a new deed. Maryland law offers a specific statutory exemption so that this type of transaction no longer is subject to possible transfer/recordation tax. When Arden Law Firm prepares a deed into or out of a revocable trust we make sure the necessary language is present.
A: Deeds are stored in the Land Records (usually housed in the same building as the Civil Clerk of the Circuit Court for each county). The clerks usually charge 50 cents a page, but cannot assist with research to retrieve old deeds. You may be able to obtain access online with a land records subscription. If that sounds like too much work, let us help! Our law firm provides clients with copies of any deed we have prepared for free. We can also retrieve deeds we didn’t prepare, so long as they were recorded within the last 50 years and send it to you (hard copy or by email) for a nominal fee (about $20 per deed).
Warning: Beware of a scam where private companies will pose as a government office and suggest you pay them $90, $100 or $109 to get a copy of your deed. The courthouse only charges 50 cents a page and you should be able to get a copy of your deed from the attorney or title company who assisted with the recording at no additional charge.
A: We can prepare many deeds in most Maryland jurisdictions but there are some deeds we do not handle. We don’t commit to any deed representation until we talk and both agree. If you have any question just give us a call!
Our firm does not provide title insurance policies so we are not currently helping with situations where title insurance is desired (unless a settlement company is helping with a refinance and our attorney can send the deed to be recorded with the refinance). If you are purchasing property from an unrelated party and want title insurance you may wish to contact a traditional settlement / title company.
While our firm handles many exempt deeds (e.g., parent/child, brother/sister, transfers to revocable trusts, etc..), we do not prepare domestic partnership deeds or deeds to/from a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend where tax exemption is sought as such deeds generally require further documentation to be exempt from transfer/recordation tax. Other Maryland real estate attorneys may be skilled with those types of deeds. We also do not prepare “subject to” deeds (where unrelated parties attempt to transfer real estate without paying off the existing mortgage).
Every deed benefits from the skill and oversight of an experienced real estate lawyer. All deeds our office handles include a certificate of preparation signed by a seasoned managing attorney.
We don’t leave clients to fend for themselves with the county recording offices! We include necessary Maryland land intake sheets, coordinate recording and in most cases can electronically submit. (Most MD deeds must go to 2-4 different government offices including Land Records)
We aim to have deeds signature ready in 2 weeks or less from the day we open the file. If you need a deed quicker, just let us know. Rush service available. Occasionally, we limit new deeds to allow us to provide the best service to our clients.
Affordable and transparent costs for deeds. Reasonable flat attorney fee of $300 for standard deeds (Estate / LLC deeds are slightly more).
Check out our Deed Cost page for details.
Our law firm regularly assists with deeds in Central Maryland (Anne Arundel, Baltimore Co., Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties) as well as deeds for property in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore (Worcester). Request a Deed Now
Have a question about the best way to structure a deed? Unsure about tax ramifications? Check out our FAQs or feel free to give us a ring.
We prepare deeds throughout the Maryland counties of Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s County but cannot prepare deeds for properties in DC itself.
Arden Law can help with deeds for properties in Frederick, Thurmont, Walkersville and surrounds.
Note: deeds inside Frederick City limits must be cleared for water bills before we can submit to the county for recording.
Montgomery County is among the top 3 Maryland counties Arden Law serves In terms of volume of deeds, .
We assist with deeds for properties in Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Silver Spring.
We can notarize in our office at no additional charge or set up remote (online) notarization for clients who don’t wish to battle the beltway.
We service all of PG County, including Bowie, Hyattsville, Laurel and Upper Marlboro.
Did you know? Hand-recording a deed in PG County is a multi-day effort which requires going to several different government offices.
We regularly assist with deed transfers for Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard Counties in central Maryland
Our firm is centrally located in AA Co, and we can prepare deeds for the entire county including Annapolis and surrounding Arnold, Crownsville, Crofton, Davidsonvile, Edgewater, Gambrills, Millersville and Severna Park;
West County areas of Laurel, Odenton, South County including Shady Side, Deale and
North County including Brooklyn, Glen Burnie, Linthicum and Pasadena.
Note that deeds inside Annapolis city limits require an extra step and fee paid to the city.
Our law firm assists with Deeds for all Baltimore County, including Catonsville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Pikesville, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Timonium and White Marsh
Note that most Baltimore County deeds require a “lien sheet” which is an extra step and fee paid to the Baltimore County Finance Department to identify any municpal bills (e.g., unpaid property taxes)
We prepare and record deeds anywhere in Howard County, including Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City and Laurel.
Note that Howard County requires a lien sheet with extra charge paid to the county for most (but not all) deeds. Our office can order this as a part of the normal deed recording process.
Our firm is happy to service Southern Maryland properties in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
Arden Law can help with deeds for properties anywhere in Calvert County including Dunkirk, Huntingtown, Lusby, Owings and Prince Frederick
We do family deeds and other property transfers in Charles Co. including LaPlata, Waldorf and surrounds.
Leonardtown, Mechanicsville and surrounds
We offer assistance with Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Worcester County (Ocean City / Ocean Pines) deeds.
Our Maryland lawyers can assist with deeds throughout the state. If you don’t want to make a trip to our central office, we can often arrange for remote (online) notarization for a modest fee. If you don’t see your town/city, please give us a quick call or fill out our contact form to see if we can help.
$0 - Free
No Cost 5-10 Min Phone Call
or email exchange with Attorney.
Private consultation (1 - 1.5 hours) with experienced Managing Attorney. In Person, Virtual or Over the Phone.Schedule