Quit Claim Deed Forms
A Quit Claim Deed, often mistaken for “Quick Claim Deed,” is a legal document used for transferring real property interest from one individual to another. It is most often used for dealings in which the parties are well acquainted with one another, such as among family members or close friends. A Quit Claim Deed, unlike Special or General Warranty Deeds, offers no protection for the buyer of the real estate. It is this reason that the majority of situations in which the Deed is used is for $0 transactions, such as the inclusion of a family member onto the deed, or to resolve a title defect.
Quit Claim Deeds by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What is a Quit Claim Deed?
A Quit Claim Deed is drawn up with the purpose of lawfully transferring any interest an individual called the Grantor actually holds to another individual called the Grantee. Advantageously, this legal instrument is quick and simple to put together and execute. It is also straightforward to file and record, which is a vital step in ensuring the Grantee receives the interest as planned.
Another major benefit of this type of Deed is that it is a very affordable means of transferring interest because assistance from a lawyer is usually unnecessary.
Generally speaking, each Quit Claim Deed should clearly state:
- The names, addresses, and marital statuses of the Grantor and Grantee,
- The amount of consideration in dollars,
- A legal description of the property,
- The type of title the Grantee will hold (e.g. tenancy in common, tenancy in entirety, etc.), and
- The date of execution.
The form will also need to be signed and acknowledged in accordance to state law requirements.
Before entering into this legal agreement, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Namely, it should be clear that a Quit Claim Deed cannot offer the Grantee any of the following in regards to the title of the property:
- Covenants, or
As such, it is vital for the Grantor and Grantee to already know and trust one another. Other risks are discussed in the “Is a Quit Claim Deed Safe?” section below.
Another consideration is that each state has its own specific set of state law requirements regarding the execution, signing, and recording of Quit Claim Deeds. As such, to ensure the form is legally compliant, the Grantor and Grantee should familiarize themselves with these requirements. Some states will require information and/or forms in addition to the basic information noted above. To learn more about what state-specific information must be included, detailed instructions can be found on each of state pages listed above.
How to File a Quit Claim Deed
Once a Quit Claim Deed is completed, it must be filed as soon as possible. Filing a Quit Claim Deed is a relatively easy process which involves handing over the form to the official office in charge of recording legal documents or Deeds.
The office the Quit Claim Deed must be filed with is dependent on state law requirements. Each state’s recording laws will specify where exactly the recording should take place. Most states require Quit Claim Deeds to be filed with the County Clerk’s Office or the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the property is located.
The reason it is strongly recommended that the Quit Claim Deed is filed as soon possible is that failure to do so leaves the Grantee vulnerable to another party recording their conveyance for the same property before they do. Depending on each state’s particular “recording statute,” this could result in the Grantee losing their claim to the property.
There are three (3) types of recording statutes:
- Race recording statute: Also known as a “race to the courthouse” recording statute, this type is the most rigid of the three. The first party who records a valid conveyance for a given property will be granted the title for that property.
- Notice recording statute: If another party does not have notice of another conflicting conveyance and they execute a legally-valid conveyance, they will be granted the title for that property.
- Race-notice recording: If another party does not have notice of another conflicting conveyance and they record their legally-valid conveyance, they will be granted the title for that property.
Quit Claim Deed FAQ
The following are the answers to frequently asked questions regarding quit claim deed contracts.
Is a Quit Claim Deed Safe?
A Quit Claim Deed is safe so long as the parties understand the risks associated with this type of Deed. It is safest to use one when it is already evident that the Grantor holds a good title to the property.
All legal contracts—including all types of Deeds used for conveying property—come with a certain level of risk. However, compared to other types of property conveyance Deeds, a Quit Claim Deed is considered the riskiest for the Grantee. This is due to the fact it cannot offer any guarantees, warranties, covenants, or promises about the property title in question, as discussed above. It therefore offers extremely limited buyer protection. The Deed will usually explicitly make a statement in some form to the fact that neither expressed nor implied title covenants can be offered.
In short, in a Quit Claim Deed, the Grantee will only receive any interest the Grantor genuinely holds. Consequently, if the Grantor—either intentionally or unintentionally—informs the Grantee that they have any interest which they in fact do not, the Grantee will not be granted any of this interest. Moreover, because there are no warranties to protect the Grantee if such a situation occurs, they will be unable to receive any legal remedies if it eventuates the Grantor’s interest is non-existent.
For this reason, Grantees are urged to take on board the following pieces of advice to lower the significant risks associated with this type of legal contract:
- Perform a title search before drawing up a Quit Claim Deed: Performing a title search will allow both parties to confirm the nature of the Grantor’s interest. It will also establish whether or not there are any other parties who hold interest in the property that could cause problems down the line.
- Only execute this type of Deed with a Grantor they are already familiar with and can genuinely trust: Given the risks involved, it is strongly advised that the Grantee already has an already established relationship with the Grantor. Common examples of Grantor-Grantee relationships include a parent and child, sibling and sibling, family member and family member, spouse and spouse, or ex-husband/ex-wife and ex-husband/ex-wife.
- Do not use this type of Deed for any conveyances that involve an exchange of large sums of money: As the Grantor is not liable in any way, if it turns out that there is a problem with the title, the Grantor is not legally obligated to return any money the Grantee paid them for the property. As such, it is safest for only a nominal amount of money to be exchanged during the conveyance.
- Do not use this type of Deed for any conveyances that involve an outstanding mortgage: Although it is possible for the Grantor to have an outstanding mortgage on the property, a Quit Claim Deed involving a mortgage can quickly become messy. Even if the Grantor will retain their liability to the mortgage, the high chance of complications occurring during this arrangement does not usually make it worth it for the Grantee to take on such a risk.
In cases where the Grantee cannot bear the risks that come part and parcel with a Quit Claim Deed, or if they require guarantees and warranties, they are recommended to instead convey interest via a Deed that does offer warranties—namely, a Warranty Deed.
Can a Quit Claim Deed be Revoked?
A Quit Claim Deed can only be revoked under a very limited set of circumstances. As a valid contract that has been duly recorded will subsequently transfer any interest the Grantor has to the Grantee, it is almost impossible to reverse this process.
The primary circumstance that may allow for the Quit Claim Deed to be revoked is if it can be proven that one party was coerced into signing the form. In order to do so, the party claiming this must provide evidence of such coercion before a judge in a court of law. Specifically, the party must prove that they were made to sign the form under “undue influence.” That is, they were taken advantage of and thus did not sign their name to the form under their own free will.
Another circumstance which may result in a judge overturning a Quit Claim Deed is if it can be proven that one party was incompetent at the time of signing. For example, if a person with dementia signed the contract but they did not have a clear idea of what they were doing, this may meet the criteria need to prove incompetence.
A final circumstance that may be grounds for a Quit Claim Deed to be revoked is if it is invalidated due to a technical or procedural error. For example, if state law requires the Grantor to sign the form before a Notary Public, and they did not do so, this may constitute a procedural error in the eyes of the law.
As revoking a Quit Claim Deed form is incredibly difficult, if a party wishes to pursue one of the routes above, it is strongly advised that legal advice is sought before proceeding.
Can a Quit Claim Deed be Filed After Death?
There is no simple answer to whether a Quit Claim Deed can be filed after the Grantor’s death. Some state laws may allow for the filing to take place if the Grantor signed and delivered the Deed prior to their death, so long as certain other requirements are also met.
Whether a Quit Claim Deed can be filed after death will also depend on any particular conditions noted in the Deed and the nature of the title being held.
Even if it is not possible to record the form after the Grantor passes away, it may be possible to make the case that the Grantor indeed intended for the form to be filed upon their death. In this case, the form may be processed as a will, which will require going through the probate process.
If available, it may be more straightforward to file a Transfer on Death Deed (also known as a Beneficiary Deed). This type of Deed is permitted for use in around half of the states. It allows for the property of a deceased individual to be passed on to another party without the need for probate.
In any case, due to the complicated nature of this circumstance, it is best to consult a legal professional to ensure that the correct procedures are taken.
How to Write
Step 1 – Recording Information
In the top left of the deed, the individual that prepared the document (typically an attorney), will write their name and address. In the second area, enter the name and address of the Grantee (receiving the property).
Step 2 – Date & Grantor
Write the day, month, and year in which the deed is being completed, followed by the name of the Grantor (owner of the property), and the Grantor’s full address (may or may not be the Grantor’s current address).
Step 3 – Grantee
In the field directly below the Grantor’s address, enter the name of the Grantee (receiving the property) and the Grantee’s Address (street, city, state, and ZIP).
Step 4 – Consideration & Legal Description
In the first field, enter the dollar amount (in words) that the Grantee is paying for the property. If it is a gift, include a monetary amount of one dollar ($1.00) or ten dollars ($10.00). Then, enter both the county and state in which the property is located, followed by a legal description of the property. The description does not have to look similar to the example provided – however, it should contain detailed information that adequately describes the property.
Step 5 – Property Address
Enter the full address of the property being quitclaimed to the Grantee.
Step 6 – Grantor Signature(s)
In this section, the Grantor (or Grantors, depending on if there are one (1) or two (2) of them) will need to write their signature(s), printed name(s), address(es), and phone number(s).
Step 7 – Witness Signature(s)
Here, the witness(es) to the deed, much like Step 6, will need to write their signature(s), printed name(s), address(es), and phone number(s). Whether or not the deed is required to be signed by one (1) or two (2) witnesses depends on the state statutes in which the property is located.
Step 8 – Notarization
The section at the bottom of the second (2nd) page is to be completed by a Notary Public only. No information needs to be (or should be) entered into this section by the Grantor or preparer.