Direct Deed

The third and final way to own property in Mexico is through a direct deed (escritura publica en dominio directo). This structure works for foreigners buying property outside the “restricted zone“ — in the colonial cities, for instance — but not along the borders or coast.

A direct deed shows the history of ownership for a given piece of property, and it names the current, legal owner — you. With this structure, you can own a piece of property outright. (Even though you’re not buying in the “restricted zone“, you still need to get permission to buy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs — something the notary can take care of for you).

When you hold the direct deed to a property, you pay no yearly or administrative fee to maintain it as you would with a bank trust. But you will be charged a one-time fee of about $300 for each foreigner whose name appears on the deed. If you’re married, make sure both your name and your spouse’s name appear.

As with a trust, you can designate a “beneficiary” on the deed so that the property will automatically transfer to that person should you die, but in this case, the beneficiary must be a direct blood relation — a parent or a child. Don’t leave anything to chance — have your Attorney draw up a Will for you in Mexico — and in Spanish — which stipulates clearly to whom your property and possessions should be transferred upon your death. That you make your intent — and the intended legal ownership of the property — perfectly clear.

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