What Are Quitclaim Deeds?

A quitclaim deed is so named because the seller is disclaiming all interest in a property. This type of deed offers no buyer protection. It makes no seller guarantees. Instead, it merely states that the seller transfers any ownership interest to the buyer. If the seller has absolutely no ownership interest in the property, that’s what will transfer to the buyer. It is unlike a warranty deed, which guarantees that the property has no problems like debts or other owners.

A quitclaim deed has:

  • A legal description of the property
  • The name of the person who is transferring the interest
  • The name of the person who is receiving that interest
  • Both parties’ notarized signatures

Quitclaim deeds are frequently used in these nonsale situations:

  • When property is transferred within families, e.g., parents passing property on to their children
  • When property is transferred between spouses, especially if they are divorcing or separating
  • As a tool in a boundary dispute between neighboring property owners
  • To add or remove co-owners from a property title
  • To address complications in title issues, including the release of a previous owner’s interest in the property
  • To gift or donate a property to a charitable organization
  • To informally transfer property between acquaintances or business associates who are familiar with the property and each other
  • To clarify ownership of inherited property
  • To transfer property into or out of a revocable living trust
  • To change how a property’s title is held

These deeds are not used during traditional real estate sales because there is no guarantee of a clear title. Instead, the property transfer is done outside a real estate sale — with no title search or title insurance.

In other words, a quitclaim deed changes who owns a property. It doesn’t promise anything about whether the ownership is good. And while a quitclaim deed offers no assurance that the seller actually had an ownership interest in the property, it does prevent the seller from later claiming such interest.

When accepting a quitclaim deed, the buyer of the property accepts the risk that they may not have a valid ownership interest and/or that there may be additional ownership interests in the property.

Quitclaim deeds should only be used when transferring real estate between persons who realize their limitations. You can overturn or cancel a quitclaim deed if both parties to the transaction explicitly agree to do so. And of course, a quitclaim deed can be challenged in court if someone believes that it was used to transfer property illegally.

You may want to work with a deed attorney to help you choose the right type of deed for your needs. You may also want to check with a real estate attorney to create a deed and legal property description and to research property deeds to see whether anyone else claims to own the property.

Some values remain constant, but it is never too late to adjust priorities.

Reach out to Roz Carothers and her team at Triplett & Carothers to learn more.