General information

A deed is a legal document that transfers title (ownership) for real estate. The laws about deeds and other conveyances are in RCW Chapter 64.04.

The basic requirements for a deed in Washington are: it must be in writing, contain a legal description of the property, be signed by the grantor (the person(s) granting title to the property) and the grantor’s signature must be notarized.

Types of deeds

There are several different types of deeds. The most commonly used are quitclaim deeds, bargain and sale deeds, and (statutory) warranty deeds. However, there are also other more specialized types of deeds.

Filling out deeds

A deed must be filled out properly in order to do what you intend. A key part of the deed is who is being named as the person(s) receiving the real estate who will then be the new owner(s).

If you own land, you "hold title" to that real estate. Title can be held in the name of one person or entity, or multiple people or entities. When writing a deed, you need to think about how you want title held for the new owners. How you write this part of the deed changes what ownership the new owners get:

Effects of deeds

The way a deed is written changes how the people named in the deed hold title to the real estate. Different wording creates different legal ownership rights and inheritance rights. There are other possible consequences to doing a deed such as tax effects or impacts on eligibility for benefits. 

Transferring title is a significant financial decision that create problems if done incorrectly and can have unintended consequences even if done correctly. Discussing your specific situation with an attorney before doing a deed can prevent future problems.


The Washington State Bar Association has blank deed forms for quitclaim, bargain and sale, warranty, and personal representative deeds. They also have other forms related to the sale and transfer of real estate.

A transfer on death deed can be appropriate as part of making estate plans for when you die.


There are formatting requirements for deeds in order to have them recorded. The Clark County Auditor's Office has a recording guide that lists these requirements. They also have a cover sheet to use as the first page of your document if the first page does not contain the required information or have the required margins.

Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavits are required when a deed is recorded. They be printed or can be picked up at the joint lobby of the Clark County Treasurer's Office. Legal size paper is no longer required.