If you want to transfer title to property, the commonest way is by written deed. Warranty deeds, grant deeds and quitclaim deeds will all do the job. Quitclaim deeds, unlike the others, do not provide any guarantees that the title the "grantor" or owner conveys is legitimate. Like the other forms of deed, quitclaim deeds must be notarized for the transfer of title to take effect.
Quitclaim deeds are often used when the grantor transfers title to a "grantee" within her family, so liability isn't as big an concern, the Bankrate website states. The deeds can also be used to transfer property to a living trust, or for a divorcing spouse to give up any claim to a jointly owned house. Governments selling tax-foreclosed houses will use quitclaim deeds to avoid liability for any title problems.
All deeds must include the name of the grantor and grantee, the legal description and address of the property, and the grantor's notarized signature, the Nolo legal website states. Some states have added requirements, such as having the grantee sign or having the document witnessed.
Title transfers must be recorded in the county where the property resides, but the notary public who applies her seal can be licensed anywhere in the state. In many places, the deed can even be notarized by a notary public licensed in another state, but some states and counties won't accept this: Kings County, New York, for example, requires a New York-licensed notary to stamp the quitclaim deed.
Anyone with a notary public license can seal a deed, even if they don't call themselves a notary public. Bankers, attorneys and real estate agents may have a notary public license, for example, and any of them could apply their seal to notarize a quitclaim deed.
A notary seal doesn't prove that anything in the deed is true or that the grantor has title to the property, it only establishes that the grantor signed the deed in front of the notary. In some cases, it may not even prove that; the Wisconsin bar states that one attorney's client brought in a document his wife had already signed; the attorney notarized the signature as a favor to the client, then found himself in a lawsuit because the client had forged his wife's signature.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.