If you want to transfer real estate property from a trusted party quickly, then this deed is the most convenient option.
Although it has limited purposes, this deed is a convenient and quick method of transferring the ownership of a real estate property from a grantor to a grantee. In other instances, it can be used to correct mistakes in the title.
This article discusses everything you need to know about a quitclaim deed and has a downloadable form.
Quitclaim Deed Form
Due to its legal nature and different requirements in each state, the quitclaim deed is a straightforward but technically complex form to complete. Consult the provided templates for an easy way to do it correctly.
Once downloaded, you should fill in the required information and get the necessary parties to sign. The signature may be done before a notary public and/or witnesses (depending on the statutory requirements in the state).
Quitclaim Forms By State
The following are quitclaim forms used in different US states. You can select the state of your residence and download the form accordingly from below:
What is a Quitclaim Deed?
A quitclaim deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership title to real property from the seller without proving ownership or providing assurances to the recipient.
Quitclaim deed form is often used between trusted parties like family members or spouses to correct a spelling error or defect in the title of ownership. Unlike official warranty deeds, it became popular in private real estate transactions between trusted persons because it is easy to prepare and execute.
This deed is also referred to as a “quit claim” or “non-warranty deed” and is sometimes erroneously called a “quick claim deed” because of its quick and easy execution.
The rise in the use of this deed in the US dates back to the mid-1800s. It became popular because of the inefficiency of the early land record systems. It was possible to resolve any inconsistencies in the chain of title caused by misplaced, stolen, or erroneous records by asking a potential interest holder to “leave” their claim to the property.
The following is a brief overview of the vital components of this quitclaim deed form:
- Required statement: This is the phrase used to convey the grantor’s interest. It should contain the phrase “conveys/releases and quitclaims to….”
For example, “John Smith of 6423, Boulevard, Texas, for and in consideration of $100,000, hereby REMISES, RELEASES, AND FOREVER QUITCLAIMS to Ms. Abbey South of 24C, Grove, San Francisco, State of California.”
- Signing requirements: The signature requirements vary from state to state. For example, some states require a public notary and witnesses, while others require either the public notary or witnesses to be valid.
- Form requirements: Additionally, each state and local recording authority has requirements for this deed to meet prescribed formats and possess some aspects before it can be accepted for registration. Failure to meet the prescribed form may result in penalties or outright rejection.
When Should I Use It?
The quitclaim is best suited for private transactions where the grantor is a trusted person or where there is a defect on the title. Despite its limitations,it is beneficial for the specific purposes discussed below:
Transfer real property between family members
Family or jointly owned properties by members of the same family can be transferred from one family member to another using this deed. This is a convenient method because the family members often know the history and the title of ownership of the property, as well as third-party claims. In addition, there is hardly any substantial money paid as consideration.
The family members are able to transfer the land to the grantee in a timely manner, without the need to provide formal assurances as required by a warranty deed.
Add or remove an individual from the title
This type of deed is very suitable for transferring the rights of a joint owner in a real estate property by adding or removing an individual from the title. In this instance, there is no need to provide guarantees on the title of the property since they all have knowledge of its ownership.
Here, the joint owner simply quitclaims all his rights and interests in the property to the grantee(s).
Correct a defect on the title, make name changes, or remove the cloud
A quitclaim deed is beneficial in correcting defects on a real estate property title, e.g., a missing signature or an inaccurate real estate record document. You can also use it to amend the spelling of a name on public records or the chain of title without bringing litigation.
It can also be used to fill in gaps in the chain of title documents or to clear ambiguity or “clouds” in the title of the property. Also, a person without an interest in the property may “quit” their claim to the property with the non-warranty deed form.
Avoid the probate process
The distribution of an estate under a will through probate can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. In some instances, it may even involve litigation. However, a would-be testator can avoid the process by transferring his title via such a deed to the beneficiaries while alive. The whole probate process is avoided, and the beneficiary still gets the real estate property.
Transferring legal ownership to an LLC or corporation
Property can be transferred between the parent company and its subsidiaries using such a deed. No subsidiary will file a claim against its parent company for any problems relating to the property, and vice versa.
Transfer ownership to a trust
Where the real estate property owner intends to transfer the property to a living trust, a quitclaim deed is often the most efficient method. By transferring to a living trust, the probate process (in cases of probate) is shortened, and the trustee can validly administer the property in favor of the beneficiary without recourse to the court.
How Do I Use It?
A quitclaim deed effectively conveys the legal title to a property to the buyer (grantee). However, there are no formal guarantees that the title being passed to the grantee is free of third-party claims.
This is why a this deed is most suitable for parties who can trust each other without the need for a legal or written promise that the title is free from any claims, e.g., family members or spouses. Where the title is defective, the grantee receives a defective title and has no protection against the third party with a valid claim or an indemnity against the grantor.
Upon submission and approval by the local records authority, the transfer cannot be revoked unless both parties agree to execute a fresh deed. The court can only “reverse” the transfer if either party can prove an element of fraud or undue influence.
This is in contrast with a warranty deed, which legally binds the grantor to a formal undertaking that the title being transferred is not defective or subject to overriding claims.
The following are the uses of this deed:
Quitclaim deed with the right of survivorship
This form of quitclaim deed ensures that the grantor’s title passes to a co-owner rather than the grantor’s estate. The probate process is avoided by executing a this deed with the right of survivorship, and the ownership interest passes automatically to the surviving co-owner or tenant.
Quitclaim deed and divorce
During the process of a divorce, spouses who jointly own real estate may agree for the property to be transferred wholly to one of them. In this case, one spouse “quits claim” to their title against monetary compensation or some other valuable consideration.
Quitclaim deed and title insurance
While investigating the title of a property, a title insurance company may discover someone without a “participatory” interest in the chain of title. Before issuing the insurance certificate, the person may be required to execute a quitclaim deed to relinquish his interest (“cloud” in the title).
Quitclaim deed and mortgages
Quitclaim deeds do not affect mortgage obligations on a property unless there is refinancing. This means that regardless of whether a person is added to or removed from the title of a property using a quitclaim deed, the mortgage will continue on the terms on which it was initiated. However, in some cases, filing for it can trigger a “due on sale” clause for the property, which will require the grantor to pay the entire remaining balance of the mortgage once the title changes hands.
Quitclaim deed and fraud and abuse
Fraudulent persons can use these deeds to fraudulently convey property in their names, and it may be impossible to get it back. The property can then be sold without a warranty, rented to unwary tenants, or given a loan based on its value after a scammer has recorded a false document. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct due diligence in a real estate transaction if the other party is not a trusted person.
How Do I File One?
The filing procedures vary from state to state. However, here is a guide to help you with the basic procedures:
Gather the required information
Each state has its own requirements for quitclaim deeds. For instance, you might need to know the eligibility criteria for filing a deed or the legal description of the property. Therefore, you must thoroughly research all laws and legal requirements before filing. In addition to that, you will need to know the full legal names of the grantee and their address.
Obtain the form
The required paperwork to create the deed can be found online and at most city courts.
Fill out the form
The form you use will typically indicate the type of information you need about the property in addition to the street address. You may require the parcel number, or you may need to copy metes and bounds or other descriptions from any existing deed relating to the property.
Delivery and acceptance
This refers to the grantor’s intent and transfer of title and the acceptance of the same by the grantee. The document is only valid when it has been received and accepted by the grantee.
Notarize the form
The deed must be signed by both the grantor and grantee in the presence of a notary public and witnesses, depending on the state’s requirements regarding where the property is located.
Record the deed
The quitclaim deed form is then submitted to the state’s Registry of Deeds or other local record authorities. The deed is examined in accordance with the state’s guidelines before it is accepted for filing. A fee must also be paid.
Quitclaim Deed Vs. Warranty Deed
The significant difference between a quitclaim deed and a warranty deed is that a warranty deed provides legal guarantees from the grantor to the grantee on the title of ownership. Moreover, the warranty deed guarantees that there are no debts or unpaid dues on the property. It also provides assurance that the grantor has the authority to transfer the property. The warranty deed also provides indemnity to the grantee against third-party claims or rights.
On the other hand, a quitclaim deed offers no protection from third-party claims but is easier and simpler to prepare.
Elements of a Quitclaim Deed
The quitclaim deed must meet certain requirements. The following are the common elements in all legal deeds:
- Title: This is the document’s heading, “Quitclaim Deed”.
- Date: The month, day, and year that the deed was completed, signed, and executed.
- Grantor: The current owner is transferring his ownership interest to the grantee. This includes a corporation or legal entity, a natural person, a partnership, an LLC, a trust, or a trustee.
- Guarantee: This is the person who is receiving the ownership rights that are being transferred. The term “person” refers to any entity that can legally own real estate.
- Habendum: This is also called the “operative part” of the deed. This section of a deed or conveyance states the estate or quantity of interest to be granted, e.g., the term of a lease. It should contain phrases such as “remise, release, and quitclaims unto the Grantee….”
- Consideration: This is the value exchanged for the transfer, i.e., the payment for the grant of title. The consideration does not need to be huge; an amount as low as $1 will suffice. However, it is a vital part of the deed, and where the title is transferred as a gift, it should be clearly stated. However, a property transferred as a gift may raise tax issues in different states.
- Legal description: This is the description of where the property is situated. There are official prescriptions for the type of legal description acceptable in each state. For example, a “metes and bounds” legal description will state the precise boundary lines of the property. In contrast, a “lot and block” description identifies the lot number or letter and the block, or subdivision plat, where the lot is located.
- Notary public: The section where the public official, known as the notary public, stamps and signs the document. Some states require the notarization of a quitclaim deed, while others make it optional.
- Preparer: This is usually an attorney or the grantor who prepares the quitclaim deed.
- Receiver: This also refers to the grantee. The address of the grantee or buyer should be inserted so all the notices can be sent there.
- Witnesses: The person(s) other than the grantor and the grantee (and their attorneys) present when the deed was signed. They are also required to put in their names and signatures. Not all states require a witness, especially where the deed has been notarized.
Limitations of a Quitclaim Deed
When using a quitclaim deed, you must realize the following limitations:
You are buying the least amount of protection
Unlike a warranty deed, the quitclaim deed does not offer complete protection or legal assurances on the title. As a result, it provides the least protection possible within the deed categories.
Only rely on grantors you know and trust
Quitclaim deeds are prone to fraud and abuse, with little or no remedies for recovery. Hence, whether as a grantor or grantee, you should sign one only if you trust the other party.
They are effective if the title is good
As there are no guarantees on the property’s title, the grantee or recipient can only receive the title of the grantor “as good as the title is.” If the grantor’s title is defective, it cannot be corrected by the transfer.
It does not affect the mortgage
Even if you sign and file a quitclaim deed form removing your name from the title to the property, you might still be responsible for missed mortgage payments. It does not alter your mortgage obligations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Quitclaims are generally helpful in circumstances where you want to transfer ownership without paying any money. You should typically only use it with people you know and trust, such as family members, due to the lack of warranty.
The requirement for notarization varies from state to state.
It is filed according to the state’s guidelines and the requirements of the local records authority. A comprehensive list of requirements for each state can be found in the article.
This is permanent. It remains valid until it is revoked by a court order or the interest is transferred by another deed. The time limit for challenging the validity of this document in most states is two years.
No. However, you should consult a real estate attorney for advice regarding the legal specifications for such a document before you prepare it.