Wisconsin Quit Claim Deed (Form 3-2003)
The Wisconsin Quit Claim Deed (Form 3-2003) is a one-page document that may exclusively be used in Wisconsin to convey any interest in real property one party called the Grantor has to another party called the Grantee. State law, specifically, § 706.10(4), clarifies that this type of Deed, “…Shall pass all of the interest in or appurtenant to the land described which the grantor could lawfully convey, but shall not warrant or imply the existence, quantity or quality of any such interest.” This makes two defining features of this type of Deed clear. Firstly, it will pass on any interest the Grantor genuinely has to the Grantee. Secondly, the Grantee will not be provided with any warranties that in the end, the Grantor really does have the interest they say they do.
Laws (§ 706.10(4)): Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations, Chapter 706: “Conveyances of Real Property; recording; titles”
Formal requisites (§ 706.02): All Quit Claim Deeds made in Wisconsin must identify the Grantor and Grantee, the land, and the interest conveyed. Moreover, they must identify “any material term, condition, reservation, exception or contingency upon which the interest is to arise, continue or be extinguished, limited or encumbered.” There is also a formal requisite for the Deed to be delivered.
Formatting requirements (§ 59.43(2m)): State law makes it known that specific formatting requirements must be attended to in order for the Deed to be recorded.
Legal description of the property (§ 706.05(2)(2m)(a)): To be duly recorded, the form must include the property’s full legal description.
Homesteads (§ 706.02): Except for conveyances between spouses, the Deed must be “signed, or joined in by separate conveyance, by or on behalf of each spouse” if it alienates any interest of a married person in a homestead. A homestead in Wisconsin is defined by § 706.01 (7) as, “the dwelling, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for use of the dwelling as a home, but not less than one-fourth acre, if available, and not exceeding 40 acres.”
Name of document drafter (§ 59.43(5)): The name of the individual drafting the document must be stated on the form. Specifically, their name should be provided in a statement of following form: “This instrument was drafted by …. (name)”
Parcel identification number (§ 59.43(5)): The document may need to include the parcel identification number. Whether it should be included or not will depend on the size of the population of the county where the property is located, as well as each county’s own requirements regarding this matter. Further information can be found in § 59.43(5).
Signing requirements (§ 706.06): A Wisconsin Quit Claim Deed must either be authenticated or acknowledged by a public officer or a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. In doing so, they must ensure that the Deed:
- Is endorsed with “Acknowledged,” “Authenticated,” or “Signatures Guaranteed,” or other words to similar effect,
- States the date it was authenticated on,
- Bears their signature, and
- Includes their official or professional title.
It should be noted that signing requirements for the form may differ between counties. For example, Racine County requires a notary seal when acknowledgments are taken, while some other counties may not.
How to file a Quit Claim Deed in Wisconsin (§ 59.43): All Deeds, including Quit Claim Deeds, must be filed at the Registry of Deeds in the county where the property is based. The Registry of Deeds’ fees stated in § 59.43(2) must be paid for the recording to take place.
As stated on the website of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, the seller of a piece of real estate (i.e., the Grantor) must file the form Real Estate Transfer Return (eRETR) with the Quit Claim Deed. Instructions and an FAQ have been provided by the Department to help individuals to correctly fill out the form.
In terms of when the recording should be made, it is strongly advised that it is made right after execution. This will help to avoid any consequences of Wisconsin’s “race-notice recording statute. As set out by § 706.08 and § 706.09, “nonrecording” will make the Deed void to “a subsequent purchaser, in good faith and for a valuable consideration, of the same real estate or any portion of the same real estate whose conveyance is recorded first.”
To explain this in plain English, the first party to record a Deed for a given property will be able to keep the title of that property, whereas the other party’s unrecorded conveyance will become void.