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How to File a Quit Claim Deed

Sonia Nair Apr 21, 2019
A quit claim deed is a legal document, through which a person can disclaim his legal interest in a property and transfer the same to another.
Legitimate transfer of real estate involves legal documents called deeds. A quit claim deed is used to relinquish a right, title or interest over a property, a person has or may have in future, and transfer that to another. Person who transfers his right is called the 'grantor' and the one to whom the right is conferred is called a 'grantee'.
Usually, quit claim deeds are used in case of gifts, property transfer between family members or for placing personal property into a business entity/trust. This deed is most commonly used by divorced couples.
A quit claim deed must have a grantor and a grantee. The deed must be in written form and signed before a notary (notary attestation is a must for recording the deed). The deed must be accepted by the grantee and recorded with the concerned department.

How a Quit Claim Deed Differs From Others?

Even though, it is a legal document related to transfer of rights over property, a quit claim deed differs from other types of deeds like grant deeds and warranty deeds, which are normally used in real estate sales.
The latter deeds require a guarantee from the grantor to the grantee that the title to the property is clear, whereas in case of a quit claim deed, there is no guarantee from the grantor to the effect that the property is free of debts or there is no other person who has claim over the property.
A quit claim deed does not even guarantee that the grantor has any claim or right over the property. Through a quit claim deed, the grantee receives only the rights which grantor had over the property. In some states, the grantor is relieved of all liabilities and encumbrances, once deed executed, but in others the grantor is not liable for the same.

How to File a Quit Claim Deed

Check Laws

The first thing you have to do is to check the local laws regarding quit claim deeds. You can either go through the relevant books or check online for information. You may even approach an attorney for this purpose.

Buy the Deed

Buy a quit claim deed form from a bookstore or download it from an authentic site. Fill the necessary information as required. Make sure that you are entering the right information. Avoid any spelling mistakes or factual errors.

Fill Information

A quit claim deed must have:
~ Full, current, legal (important) name, address of grantor and grantee.
~ Consideration (purchase amount), if any. A nominal amount will do for gifts.
~ Legal description of the property with the country name where it is located.
~ Sign of the grantor and notary public.
~ Sign of grantee and witnesses may be needed in some states.

Complete Legalities

You can contact the county department (which deals with information relating to properties) and obtain papers that contain legal description of the property. This document may differ from one state to another, but generally includes the details regarding a particular property.
If there is more than one grantor, all of them should be present before the notary, so as to sign the deed. Nowadays, some banks also offer cheap notary services for their customers.

File Deed

The final step involves filing of the quit claim deed with the county. They will charge you a small fee for recording the document. Some states may also impose tax on certain transfers. Once done, you must deliver a copy to the grantee, who must accept the deed.

When is a Quit Claim Deed Executed?

In divorce cases, a quit claim deed can be executed by one party for disclaiming the right over a joint property and at the same time conferring the same to the other. When one spouse acquires the home (they mutually own) through a divorce decree, the other has to part with his/her right over the property through a quit claim deed.
The latter cannot claim any right over the property from that date and will not get any share of the money if the property is sold subsequently by the other person who has the title. But as far as the debts over the property are concerned, both are liable to pay.
In case the person, who has disclaimed his right over the property is the only one liable to pay off the debts, then he has to do it, even after enacting the deed. In case of mortgages or loans, refinancing can be done to shift the liability. This deed can also be used by a spouse to disclaim any interest in a property owned by the other.
For example, Mr. Harry bought a home before his marriage with Alice. After the marriage, Mr. Harry wanted to sell this home to Mr. Richard. This situation demands a quit claim deed from Alice to Mr. Richard. The execution of this deed ensures that the wife is not entitled to reclaim the property later.
Another instance where a quit claim deed is made, is sale of residential property. As a quit claim deed does not necessarily guarantee a clear title, it is not usually used for sale of residential property. But in some states, this type of deed is specifically used for the same. However, in such cases, the title company provides the guarantee of clear title.
The owner has to file deed to the county to facilitate transfer of ownership from seller to buyer. Even tax sale deeds are associated with quit claim deeds. The auction of a particular property is conducted by the local authorities to pay off the outstanding tax debt. In such cases, authorities file a quit claim deed to disclaim any right over property.
In short, quit claim deeds are mainly used to 'quit' one's legal interest on a property and not for transfer of title. You have to understand that once the deed is final, you cease to have such right over the property. If you want to get back the right over that property, the grantee should quit his/her claim.
If this does not happen, you have to hire a lawyer, file a suit and prove that you had signed the deed under threats. The whole process involves waste of time, money, and above all, there is no guarantee of success. Hence, you should think well before signing a quit claim deed. It is always better to seek advice from a lawyer, before signing such a deed.