A Property Transfer Affidavit is a form that notifies the local taxing authority of a transfer of ownership of real estate. It is required by law, so that the local taxing authority knows (a) who owns the property, (b) where to send the tax bill, (c) whether the property is entitled to the lower "homestead" tax rate, and (d) whether it is time to adjust (or "uncap") the property taxes. The law requires a new owner to file this within 45 days after a transfer of ownership. Generally, a transfer will cause the property taxes to be "uncapped," but there are many exceptions to that rule. If you fall under one of those exceptions, and you select the correct exception on the form, you may be able to avoid a property tax increase. But the law is very precise; we recommend that you consult with an experienced real estate lawyer at Creighton McLean & Shea PLC whenever you transfer property, to be sure you tax advantage of any exception that you may be entitled to.
Any person who deals with real estate in Michigan has run across an odd law regarding a wife's "dower interest" in property owned by her husband. The concept of dower extends as far back as the Magna Carta in 1215, when English nobles wanted assurance that when they died, their widows would receive some portion of their land. (At that time, any land owned by a nobleman at the time of his death automatically reverted to the king, leaving the widow destitute.)