What is a Quitclaim Deed?

A quitclaim deed is a real estate document that legally transfers a property interest from one person (the grantor) to another (the grantee). It is considered a quick and simple way to transfer property, but does not carry any warranties with it.

Representations in a Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed transfers only the grantor's interest in the particular property to the grantee. The grantor makes no promises and offers no warranties, but coveys only what he has to the grantee. If the grantor has nothing, the grantee gets nothing. If the grantee later discovers a lien on the property he received, he cannot turn around and successfully sue the grantor for his losses from the encumbrance. The grantor has made no guarantees that he would make through a warranty deed. As such, a title insurance company would not usually issue title insurance based on a quitclaim deed.

Situations For a Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed is simple to do and requires much less paperwork than a typical property transfer conveyance. Since the quitclaim deed offers no warranties, it is most likely used to transfer a property interest between relatives. The quitclaim deed is commonly used in wills and living trusts or in situations where a seller may have previously retained a partial interest in the property and now wishes to transfer the remainder to the new owner. Another use is in a divorce where one party terminates an interest in the home and transfers full rights to the other spouse. The transfer is done easily and without much expense. Rules vary in each state to ensure legality, but most require notarization and filing with the local land records office. Check with your local county recorder's office for details on how to ensure the validity of a quitclaim deed in your area.

Seek Legal Advice on Drafting a Quitclaim Deed

Consider consulting an attorney before preparing or signing any quitclaim deed. Not only can a real estate lawyer assist you in complying with the drafting requirements to make a quitclaim deed legally valid, but the attorney can also help ensure your rights are protected with regard to any outstanding mortgages owed on the property or any claims that may be attached to the real estate.