A quit claim deed conveys real estate without any warranties regarding clear title.
Land, buildings and other forms of real property cannot be owned by the same individuals forever. Either because owners pass away, transfer these assets to a trust or surrender their interest in them, the ownership interests in real property necessarily change hands every so often. When interests in real property are transferred to trusts or to close loved ones, the interested parties may use a quitclaim deed in order to articulate that someone has surrendered their interest and that interest is going to be transferred in a specific way. Alternatively, individuals may use quitclaim deeds in order to facilitate a name change on an existing deed and to resolve certain restrictions on a particular title.
- Selling or giving away property that you cannot guarantee you have good title to, despite a good faith belief that you are the legal owner
- Purchasing property for which a seller cannot guarantee good title
A quitclaim deed is used to convey a piece of property when the existing owner cannot make any guarantees to the new owner that the title is valid. Rather, the prior owner merely “quits” her “claim” to the title without making any representations regarding whether her title was good in the first place.
Bona fide purchasers who pay for property in good faith typically expect to receive good title, and for the most part that is the case. However, public records of property transactions can span hundreds of years, and sometimes the chain of title for a piece of property is broken as a result of an error that occurred far in the past. The property title continues to be transferred from owner to owner without anyone knowing that each of these transfers is invalid because of past error.
Because the risk of an encumbered or bad title is a concern in some real estate transactions, sellers may choose to convey property through a quit claim deed. The quit claim deed does not require a seller of real property to swear that the chain of title was never broken, and instead the burden is on the buyer to perform due diligence in this regard.
If a holder of a quit claim deed discovers that the chain of title had been broken, and in fact he does not legally own the property he believed he had purchased, he typically has no legal right to a refund of the purchase price of the property. If you are involved in a real estate transaction where the seller is offering a quit claim deed, it is best to consult with a title insurance company and an attorney before completing the sale.
If you need to either clearly articulate surrender of an interest in a parcel of real property or you need to obtain evidence of such surrender from another person, you may use a quitclaim deed to achieve that goal. In general, these legal tools are most relevant when the property interest in question is being surrendered and transferred without a sale/purchase of that property.
It is worth noting that because quitclaim deeds do not offer a great deal of legal and financial protection for the individual receiving the interest in question, these documents are generally only used between family members and other loved ones who are very close. For example, they are often used in divorce cases when one spouse surrenders interest in the marital home and/or a second residence. If you need to obtain proof of this kind of property-related interest surrender from someone who is not a family member or close loved one, you may wish to consult an attorney about alternative legal tools relevant to your situation.
Quitclaim Form, Quitclaim
Transfer of Property Interest Form