What Is a Quitclaim Deed?

A quitclaim deed releases a person's interest in a property without stating the nature of the person's interest or rights, and with no warranties of that person’s interest or rights in the property. A quitclaim deed neither states nor guarantees that the person relinquishing their claim to the property had valid ownership, but it does prevent that person (the grantor) from later claiming they have an interest in the property.

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Five Things To Know About Quitclaim Deeds

Understanding a Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed usually includes a legal description of the property, the name of the person who is transferring their interest, the name of the person who is receiving that interest (the grantee), the date, and both parties’ notarized signatures.

Key Takeaways

  • A quitclaim deed releases a person's interest in a property without stating the nature of the person's interest or rights, and with no warranties of that person’s interest or rights in the property.
  • A quitclaim deed makes no assurance that the grantor actually has an ownership interest in a property; it merely states that if the grantor does, they release those ownership rights.
  • Quitclaim deeds are typically used to transfer property in non-sale situations, such as transfers of property between family members.

Quitclaim deeds are typically used to transfer property in non-sale situations, such as transfers of property between family members. They can be used to add a spouse to a property title after marriage, remove a spouse from a title after divorce, clarify ownership of inherited property, transfer property into (or out of) a revocable living trust, clarify an easement, or change how a property’s title is held.

A quitclaim deed makes no assurance that the grantor actually has an ownership interest in a property; it merely states that if the grantor does, they release those ownership rights. As a result, when accepting a quitclaim deed, the buyer of a property accepts the risk that the grantor of the deed may not have a valid ownership interest and/or that there may be additional ownership interests in the property. Title insurance is not issued in conjunction with a quitclaim deed.

Quitclaim Deed vs. Warranty Deed vs. Special Warranty Deed

Deeds are usually differentiated by what they state or guarantee when the ownership is transferred from the grantor to the grantee (buyer). Unlike a quitclaim deed, a warranty deed can grant a certain level of assurances when ownership is transferred. Warranty deeds are typically used in property sales and are granted in two common forms: general warranty deeds and special warranty deeds.

A general warranty deed provides the grantee with the highest form of protection because it assures that the grantor owns the property free and clear (and that no other entity can place a claim on it). This guarantee covers the entire history of the property–even times when the grantor did not own the property. If there are any breaches in this contract, the grantor is held responsible.

A special warranty deed conveys that the grantor owns the property and that no one else has a claim to it for as long as they have owned it. Special warranty deeds are most commonly used during commercial real estate sales.