A Quitclaim Deed? What’s that?

Every week we receive several inquiries about drafting deeds to transfer property. Inevitably, most parties start by requesting a quitclaim deed, also known as a quick claim deed. After discussing a client’s needs, a different kind of deed is normally more appropriate, but we thought it may be helpful here to go further in depth on what a quitclaim deed is and can be used for. First and foremost, a quitclaim deed should only be used between trusted parties.  By accepting a quitclaim deed, a grantee accepts the grantor’s title “As Is”, with little to no protection. So, if the grantor has bad title….the grantee receives bad title. With a quitclaim deed, the grantor releases, with no warranty at all, whatever interest the grantor has in a property. Examples of when a quitclaim deed may be appropriate:
  • Adding a spouse to current title.
  • Transferring title to an ex-spouse as part of a divorce settlement.
  • Estates – Transferring title to an heir.
  • Gifting real estate.
  • Fixing title issues in which recording a new deed is all that is needed to correct the issue.
Important factors to consider when requesting a quitclaim deed:
  • The Code of Virginia may already provide recording tax exemptions for some types of property transfers, especially when adding spouses to title or transferring property pursuant to divorce. Recording tax exemptions are listed in Virginia Code §§ 58.1-810 and 58.1-811.
  • If you have a mortgage, transferring title to someone other than your spouse may cause a default.
  • If you want title insurance, you should check with a title company first. Title insurance companies may or may not offer policies based on quitclaim deeds.
If you are considering accepting a quitclaim deed, it is always best to proceed with caution. If you have any questions about transferring property or need help drafting a deed, please give us a call.