There are different ways to claim property and demonstrate ownership. Many jurisdictions accept quitclaim deeds that describe a property transfer from a current owner to a grantee. Deeds are not all created equal. Quitclaim deeds are executed quickly but do not have the same benefits as warranty deeds, such as a guarantee that the owner’s interest is valid. You will place yourself in a bad situation if you accept a quitclaim from a person who does not have a valid interest.
Gather information about the property. You should know the physical address along with the legal description, which most county tax assessor offices provide for free through their Web sites.
Research the title history to determine the current legal owners. Multiple people can own property at the same time, such as married couples or groups of investors. You should check for outstanding liens, such as regarding past-due property taxes.
Prepare a legally valid document that describes the transfer. Describe the location and clearly identify the grantor and grantee. For instance, a relative who wants to quickly transfer property will identify himself as a grantor and state that he will convey the property to you, the grantee.
Sign the deed before a witness and notary. The quitclaim deed might be less than one page or several pages long depending on the situation. Avoid accepting an unsigned deed as the document might not be upheld or accepted.
Send copies of the deed to relevant parties, such as your attorney, executor, estate administrator or title insurance company. Do not just store the deed in a safe place. If you fail to record the deed, you might lose your interest because no one will recognize the transfer.
Legal rules vary throughout the United States. Check with the appropriate local court or recorder office to determine if there are any special rules about property transfers.
Research the grantor’s interest thoroughly and carefully. For example, if the grantor has a life estate, meaning an interest in the property for his life or until he dies, then you will lose the interest once the grantor dies and the new owner takes possession.
Maggie Gebremichael has been a freelance writer since 2002. She speaks Spanish fluently and resides in Texas. When she is not writing articles for eHow.com, Gebremichael loves to travel internationally and learn about different cultures. She obtained an undergraduate degree with a focus on anthropology and business from the University of Texas and enjoys writing about her various interests.