How do we sell/transfer property without a deed?

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2011

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How do we sell/transfer property without a deed?

Inherited small acreage of trees (5.5 acres) that was originally purchased over 100 years ago when deeds were not required. Want to sell it, or transfer ownership.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Iowa


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

How long ago did you inherit this property? Within the last 5 years? If so, was there a probate proceeding where you inherited this small acreage where an order was issued by the court as to the assets of the probate being given to certain people?

If so, read the final probate decree for distribution of assets. Most likely your property is mentioned in it and it has an assessor parcel number and a legal description for it. If it does, and the probate order is recorded on your property consisting of 5.5 acres where you are its owner, then you have the ability to sell the property or transfer it to a third party by a grant deed or quitclaim deed.

I understand your concern about how the transfer by you to a third party is to happen now. Go down to your county recorder's office and pull all recorded documents on this property over the last 25 years or so. Most likely there will be a recorded document placing this property in your name such as the presumed probate order. If there is a probate order placing title in your name, the probate order acts as a deed (only by the court) transferring legal title to you.

Good luck.

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