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A quit claim deed is used to transfer interest, ownership, or rights to the property from one party to another in an extremely expeditious manner.

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What is a Quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed, also written as “quit claim deed,” is related to real estate. It is used to transfer interest, ownership, or rights to property from one party to another in an extremely expeditious manner. The person giving away their claim on the real estate is known as the grantor. The person receiving the property is called the grantee. This form is most often used to transfer property between family members.

This legal form prevents the grantor from coming back and claiming an interest in the property after the quit claim deed is finalized. This protects the grantee. This can be important in certain cases of transfer, such as during a divorce.

A quitclaim deed requires specific information about both the grantor and the grantee; sometimes, depending on the state, the marital status of the parties must be listed, as well as the name of a spouse (even if the property is not held jointly). Information about the real estate property must be included. For the best protection, a quit claim deed should be notarized and filed with the county clerk's office. However, every state has its own requirements for a quitclaim deed. Make sure that the required elements are included for the state in which the property is located.

Note: Quit Claims are sometimes referred to a “Quick Claims” or “Quickclaims.” Although this is a misnomer, it is nonetheless not uncommon.

What should you know about quitclaim deeds?

Transferring property can be tricky. There are various documents involved and they can be a source of confusion and frustration. A quitclaim deed can be very helpful because it simplifies the process. Let’s begin with a straightforward explanation of exactly what a quitclaim deed is and its various purposes.

  1. A quitclaim deed certifies that the grantor "quits" or relinquishes any right or "claim" to the specified property. Moreover, it certifies that the property will be transferred to the grantee—something that most deeds do.
    • It must be understood that this document may not be suitable for all people in all situations. It does not guarantee that the grantor has any ownership interest in the property. The only thing it attests is that if the grantor does have any ownership interest in the property, they agree to relinquish it and transfer it to the grantee—nothing more, nothing less.
  2. As you may have determined, there is a measure of risk involved in a quit claim deed, as the grantee has no real guarantee that the grantor owned the property free and clear of any liens, debts, disputes, or other ownership issues.
    • If you are going to be the grantee, you'd better be sure that the grantor did, in fact, own the property outright and that ownership was free and clear of liens, debts, disputes, or other issues that could threaten your new claim to the property. While a quit claim deed has its drawbacks, it at least prevents the possibility that the grantor will claim ownership of the property later on. Quit claim deeds are most often used in these types of situations.

If you're interested in preparing a quit claim deed or just want a better comprehension of what one looks like, you can search for a quit claim deed relevant to your state online. However, if you choose to use a free quit claim deed, make sure that it's of the highest quality; you may need to consult with an attorney to confirm this. After downloading the best free quit claim deed you can find, read its terms carefully and have it signed in the presence of a notary by the grantor and the grantee.

Remember the following:

  • Depending on the state the property is located in, that the grantor and the grantee may need to list their marital status and the name of their spouse (if they’re married) even if the spouse doesn’t have a legal interest in the property.
  • One or two witnesses may be required to sign the form in the presence of a notary. Afterward, check with the local county clerk's office to find out if you need to file the document with them.

The process may sound daunting, but don't let any of this information overwhelm you. Quit claim deeds are relatively simple and straightforward compared to many other types of legal documents. It may be the easiest way for family members to transfer a home and/or land as a gift, or for individuals to transfer property when trust is not a concern. If there is no exchange of money involved in the property transfer or if there are no questions about free and clear ownership, this type of deed may be exactly what you're looking for. The important thing is to be aware of the risks involved, read the document from beginning to end, and only sign your name on the line if you understand everything you need to know about the quit claim deed and the property you are receiving.

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