Quitclaim Deeds: What Are They and When Are They Useful?

Quitclaim Deeds: What Are They and When Are They Useful?

Quitclaim deeds can be difficult to understand, but if you own property or have an interest in one, such a deed may come in handy. They’re a relatively simple way to transfer property within a family or between two people who know and are comfortable with one another; this is important because there are no guarantees with a quitclaim deed. For instance, it only conveys the interest a grantor has in the property at the current time, and there are no promises made about the quality of the title.

Quitclaim deeds don’t require an exchange of money, and they’re separate from any mortgage agreement the owners are entered into with a lender. If your name is taken off the deed with a quitclaim, you’re likely still liable for paying the mortgage, unless you’ve made another agreement with whom you share the property. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are going through a divorce and own property with your spouse.

Know your rights

Quitclaim deeds don’t offer much in the way of protection, so they are most often used between family members or people who have a trust built between them; outside of a divorce or marriage where one person wants to add or remove a spouse’s name from the deed, they’re commonly used for transferring a property from a parent to an adult child or between siblings in the event of a death in the family. The quitclaim simply eliminates one party’s interest in the property.
If you need some information on how to file one, Redfin.com has you covered.

They can correct mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but in the case of a property title, these defects can be difficult to correct. One of the easiest ways to do this is to execute a quitclaim deed to correct the misspelling of a name or add a signature.

They don’t recuse you from paying the mortgage

This type of deed has nothing to do with the mortgage on a home, so removing your name won’t change your responsibilities when it comes to paying the lender. If you’re going through a divorce and your spouse will be keeping the home rather than selling it, he or she may want to take your name off the deed in case they remarry at a later date. But unless the two of you have worked out an agreement for the mortgage, you still have to pay or it could negatively affect your credit. Not only that, your former spouse could take you to court over it.

Familiarize yourself with the legalities

It’s imperative to know the legalities of a quitclaim deed, so do some research on what is involved with them in your state. In order to be legally binding, the deed must include the names of both parties — the grantor and grantee — and has to have a legal description of the property along with the name of the county where it’s located. The price paid for the property should also be included, and in most cases, the document must be signed in the presence of a notary public. Finally, it should be filed with the county clerk.

It can’t be undone

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Quitclaim deeds can’t be reversed once they are signed and recorded, so make sure everything is in place before going through with it. If you can prove that the deed was signed under duress, you can go before the court to have it changed, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be granted a reversal.

As with any legal document, it’s important to read what you’re signing and be familiar with all the legalities. Ask a lawyer to go over it with you if you’re unsure, and keep all paperwork related to the deed in a safe place for future reference.

About the Author: After being in a car accident, Caleb Anderson developed an opiate addiction, for which he received treatment. He is in recovery today and has started RecoveryHope.org with his wife Molly. They now provide resources and support to other couples and individuals to help them face the challenges of drug and alcohol addictions.

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