Quitclaim Deed FAQ - United States


A Quitclaim Deed is used to transfer any ownership that someone (a grantor) has in a piece of property to another party (a grantee), without providing a warranty. This means that the grantor does not guarantee that there are no other claims to the property in existence.

For this reason, Quitclaim Deeds are frequently used to transfer property between family members or spouses.

Quitclaim Deed Terms and DefinitionsProperty Information in a Quitclaim DeedProperty Transfers in a Quitclaim DeedSigning and Recording a Quitclaim Deed
Quitclaim Deed Terms and Definitions
What does "title" mean?

Title is what gives someone the legal rights to control property.

The title of a home is what documents the ownership of the property, whereas the property deed is what is used to transfer the title from one party to another, like when selling a home.

What is the difference between a Quitclaim Deed and a Warranty Deed?

A Quitclaim Deed transfers ownership in a property without making warranties. This means that the grantor does not guarantee that there are no claims on the property to the grantee. Quitclaim Deeds are most often used between people who know each other well, like family members.

Alternatively, a Warranty Deed transfers a title from a grantor to a grantee with a guarantee that the property is free of any interests held by other parties (such as a lien). Warranty Deeds are most often used between unrelated parties, specifically in residential home sales.

What are the different types of property ownership?

There are many different types of property ownership, and as a property owner or homeowner, your deed defines how the title of the property will change when you pass away or transfer ownership.

The most common types of ownership are sole ownership, joint tenancy, right of survivorship, tenancy in common, and tenancy by the entirety.

What is sole ownership?

Sole ownership is exclusive ownership. It means that no one other than the property owner has any interest in or claim to the property.

What is joint tenancy?

Joint tenancy is when two or more tenants share equal interest in a property. It is common between spouses as they often buy property together at the same time.

In a joint tenancy, when one party passes away, the interest in the property often passes to the surviving tenants of the property rather than to the heirs or beneficiaries of the person who died.

Keep in mind that in some states, joint tenancies are severed when a tenant passes away, unless the joint owners of the property have a written agreement stating otherwise.

In other states, joint tenancy has been abolished altogether.

What is right of survivorship?

Right of survivorship in a Quitclaim Deed is what gives an heir of the property the right to receive it if the owner passes away.

For example, if two spouses own property as joint tenants, and one of them passes away, the surviving spouse has a right of survivorship and they inherit the deceased spouse’s interest in the property without having to go through probate.

What is tenancy in common?

Tenancy in common is when two or more people own interest in a property. This differs from joint tenancy in that the parties do not need to have equal interest in the property, and if one of the property owners passes away, there is no right of survivorship. Instead, the deceased’s interest will pass to their heirs.

For example, two people could own a property where one person owns 75 percent of the interest in the property, and the other owns 25 percent.

What is tenancy by the entirety?

Tenancy by entirety is when spouses own interest in a property together as one legal entity.

One of the benefits of this is that creditors of one spouse who is in debt cannot make claims against the property unless the spouse who is not in debt passes away first.

If one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse will own the entire property without having to go through probate.

With tenancy in entirety it can be difficult to transfer the property if one spouse goes missing or becomes incompetent since a tenancy by entirety cannot be severed without the consent of both partners.

What is survivorship community property?

This is a form of joint tenancy available only to spouses in certain states. Each spouse owns half of the property, as well as half of any debts that each spouse may have incurred. Upon the death of one spouse, the survivor will receive the deceased's interest without probate.

Since the spouses both own equal amounts of the property, debt collectors are able to make claims against it since debt is considered community property.

What does “fee simple” mean?

Fee simple refers to the most extensive interest that a person can have in a parcel of land. The holder of a fee simple has complete ownership of a property with unconditional powers of disposition during the owner's life, and upon death, the property descends to the owner's designated heirs.

In simpler terms, it means that an individual owns a property completely. It is the most standard form of property ownership.

How is joint tenancy different from tenancy in common?

Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership where the surviving tenant immediately acquires a fee simple interest in the property upon the death of the other joint tenant.

For example, if a married couple owned a home together through joint tenancy, and one spouse passed away, the other would automatically have full ownership of the home without having to go through probate.

The best way to achieve joint tenancy is through the use of a Survivorship Deed.

Tenancy in common is a different form of co-ownership where the survivor does not acquire the deceased tenant's interest in the property, but instead the deceased's interest passes according to his or her Last Will and Testament.

Who is the Grantor in a Quitclaim Deed?

The Grantor in a Quitclaim Deed is the person who gives the interest that he or she holds in the property to someone else.

Who is the Grantee in a Quitclaim Deed?

The Grantee in a Quitclaim Deed is the person who is being given interest in a property from the Grantor.

It is possible for someone to be both a Grantor and a Grantee in a Quitclaim Deed.

For example, if John Smith currently holds the title to a home and he wants to convey half interest of that family property to his wife, Mary Smith, John Smith would be listed as the Grantor, and both John Smith and Mary Smith would be listed as the Grantee.

What is a notary public?

A notary public is a state-appointed official who is authorized to authenticate certain legal documents, such as declarations, acknowledgments, deeds, mortgages, and other contracts. Most real estate deeds are notarized by attorneys.

A Quitclaim Deed must be notarized by a notary public or attorney in order to be valid.

What does "Grantee's assigns" mean?

“Grantee's assigns” refers to any person that the Grantee transfers the property to, after having received the property from the Grantor.

For example, if John Underhill (the Grantee) transferred (or assigned) property to Sam Lewis, Sam would be the Grantee’s (John Underhill) assign.

What are documentation/documentary transfer stamps?

Some jurisdictions require documentary stamps to be placed on a Quitclaim Deed to show that it complies with the local land recording laws.

These stamps will be attached at the time of recording.

What is consideration in a Quitclaim Deed?

Consideration in a Quitclaim Deed is what the Grantee will pay to the Grantor for the interest in the property. For example, if a Grantee is purchasing a Grantor’s interest in a property for $10,000, the consideration would be $10,000.

If no consideration is being provided, for example, if the property is a gift, then $10.00 can be entered as the standard consideration.

What is a County Recorder's Office?

A County Recorder’s Office, County Clerk’s Office, Register of Deeds, or Land Registry Office (depending on your state) is where Quitclaim and Warranty Deeds are registered.

What do “dower” and “curtesy” mean in a Quitclaim Deed?

Dower and curtesy refer to marital property rights that spouses are entitled to after the death of their husband or wife. The surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of any rights that their deceased spouse owned or had fee simple rights to during their lifetime.

A husband is entitled to curtesy, and a wife is entitled to dower.

Property Information in a Quitclaim Deed
Where do I get a legal description of my property?

You should be able to obtain the complete legal description of your property from the County Recorder's Office by providing your municipal address or tax parcel number.

What is the tax parcel number or parcel identification of my property?

This number is a 10-12 digit number that identifies ownership and assessed values of property for taxation purposes. The number can be obtained from your Tax Statement, Revaluation Notice, or Personal Property Listing Form.

How do I find out information regarding prior grants of my property?

Information pertaining to prior grants of your property (such as the book and page number it was recorded on) can be obtained from the County Recorder's Office.

What does "homestead property" mean?

“Homestead property” generally refers to property that is occupied by a person as their home or dwelling place.

Can I have more than one homestead property?

No. If you own and reside in more than one property, you must select one of these properties to be considered your homestead property.

Property Transfers in a Quitclaim Deed
Can I transfer property to a trust using a Quitclaim Deed?

While a Quitclaim Deed cannot be used to transfer title to a trust, a Warranty Deed can be used by individuals and/or corporations to transfer property to a trust.

To transfer property to a trust using a Warranty Deed, you will need to know the name of the trust, when it was created, and the number and name of the trustee(s).

Can I use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer rights of survivorship?

No, you need to use a Survivorship Deed to transfer rights of survivorship, where the parties will hold the property as joint tenants, with the survivor taking a fee simple interest (complete ownership) in the property upon the death of the other party.

Can I use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer property to someone as a gift?

Yes, you can use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer a gift of property to someone. You must still include consideration when filing your Quitclaim Deed with the County Recorder's Office to show that title has been transferred, so you would use $10.00 as the consideration for the property.

Can I use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer property to my Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)?

Yes, in a Quitclaim Deed a limited liability corporation (LLC) is treated the same as an ordinary corporation, and can act as either the Grantor or the Grantee.

Can I use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer a portion of my property to someone?

Yes, you can do this by listing yourself as the Grantor, and both you and the other person as the Grantees. Each Grantee would receive an equal share of the property.

For example, if there are three Grantees including yourself, then each Grantee will receive a one-third interest in the property.

Can an executor or personal representative use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer property to beneficiaries?

No, personal representatives should use a Personal Representative, Transfer on Death, or Beneficiary Deed to convey land to the heirs of the deceased individual.

If someone makes a claim to the property I have transferred to a Grantee, is the Grantor liable?

No, a Quitclaim Deed only transfers the interest in the property that one person has to another. It does not make assurances that no one else has an interest in the land.

If a subsequent claim not listed on the title is made against the land, the Grantor of a Quitclaim Deed is not liable.

Can a Quitclaim Deed be used to transfer property between two people who are divorcing?

Yes, Quitclaim Deeds are often used between parties who are well acquainted with each other, such as two people who are getting a divorce.

The Quitclaim Deed is used to transfer one spouse’s interest in the property to the other, without guaranteeing that there are any claims against the land that may arise in the future.

If you plan to use a Quitclaim Deed to transfer property to your husband or wife, and both of your names are on the property’s title, ensure that you are both listed as Grantors. The person who will be receiving the interest in the home will also be listed as the Grantee.

For example, if you are transferring your interest in a property to your husband, both you and your husband would be listed as Grantors on a Quitclaim Deed, and your husband would be listed as the Grantee.

How can I use a Quitclaim Deed to add or remove someone from my title or property deed?

To use a Quitclaim Deed to add someone to a property deed or title, you would need to create a Quitclaim Deed and list all of the current owners in the grantor section. In the grantee section, you would list all of the current owners as well as the person you would like to add.

To remove someone from a property deed or title using a Quitclaim Deed, you would need to create a Quitclaim Deed and list all of the present owners within the grantor section. In the grantee section, you would include all of the current owners except for the person that you would like to remove.

For either of these changes to take effect, you would need to register your Quitclaim Deed with your County Recorder’s Office.

Signing and Recording a Quitclaim Deed
Can a Quitclaim Deed be notarized in a different state than where is property is located?

Most states recognize notarization of land transfers by officials from other states, but you should contact the County Clerk's Office where the property is located to be sure that they will allow transfers of property located within their borders to be notarized in another state.

LawDepot’s Quitclaim Deeds allow for interstate notarization by enabling you to select the state in which you will have the deed notarized, regardless of the location of the property.

Does the Grantee need to sign the Quitclaim Deed?

No, in most states, the Grantee is not required to sign the Quitclaim Deed.

However, some counties do require that the Quitclaim Deed be signed by the Grantee in addition to the Grantor.

Where does a Quitclaim Deed need to be sent after it has been recorded?

Usually, a Quitclaim Deed is sent to the Grantee after it has been recorded.

Do I need to have my Quitclaim Deed notarized?

Yes, after the Grantor signs the Quitclaim Deed, it must be signed and stamped by a notary public to verify that the Grantor's signature is authentic before it can be filed with the County Clerk's Office.

What needs to be done after a Quitclaim Deed has been signed and notarized?

After a deed is signed and notarized, it should be filed at the land records office in the county where the property is located. This office is referred to by different names in different states, but is usually called the County Clerk's Office, County Recorder's Office, Register of Deeds, or Land Registry Office.

Do I need to have witnesses for a Quitclaim Deed?

Whether or not you need witnesses in addition to a notary public for your Quitclaim Deed depends on your location. In some states, only specific counties require witness signatures, so it is best to check with your local County Record’s Office to determine the requirements for your document.

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