If you wish to transfer ownership of your land or property without any fuss, then a quitclaim deed is the simplest option. This deed offers a quick and easy way to move real estate between family members, beneficiaries, family businesses and other people that you know and trust. A quitclaim is a short document, comprising just one or two pages. In Arkansas, it must contain certain language and meet certain legal formalities to be valid.
When to Use a Quitclaim
To understand whether a quitclaim is the right document for your transaction, it's useful to know the alternative options. Most people use a general warranty deed when they're selling real estate, because this deed protects the buyer. With a general warranty deed, you "warrant" or promise that you own the property and the title is free from any liens, debts or other clouds that could reduce the property's value.
A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, contains no warranties. All it does is transfer whatever interest you (the grantor) have in the property over to the recipient (the grantee). There's no protection against debts, easements or other problems with the property. It's possible that you don't even own the property – in which case, the quitclaim transfers nothing.
Despite these limitations, a quitclaim deed can simplify the real estate transfer process when used in the right situation. Generally, you will use a quitclaim to transfer ownership to someone you know and trust without exchanging money. This often applies to family matters, such as a parent putting her son's name on the deed before she moves to a retirement home. Quitclaims are also useful for moving property around after a marriage or divorce.
Deed Must Be in Writing
In Arkansas, the quitclaim deed must be in writing, and it must have a heading or title specifying that it is indeed a quitclaim deed. Assuming you're going the DIY approach, there are plenty of free quitclaim deed templates available online, which you fill out by typing in the blanks. Simply type "free quitclaim deed form Arkansas" into a search engine.
Make sure that the template you choose is applicable to the state of Arkansas. The document should not contain the words "grant, bargain and sell" because these words change the quitclaim into a warranty deed. Instead look for words stating the grantor is "quitting" his interest in the property.
Fill Out Quitclaim Deed Form
Quitclaims are extremely straightforward documents, and it will be clear from the template what information you need to fill out. Generally, you'll write in the grantor's name, address and marital status, the grantee's name and the address of the property.
If you are married, then your spouse must sign the quitclaim to give up her homestead rights. Most template deeds have a printed homestead declaration at the bottom of the form. That's the part your spouse needs to sign.
Arkansas Formatting Requirements
The state has very specific requirements for the formatting of a quitclaim deed in Arkansas. The deed should:
- Be printed on letter-sized paper (8.5" x 11")
- Have a 2.5-inch margin around the top right of the first page and the bottom of the last page
- Have a 1/2-inch margin on the sides and bottoms of all other pages
- Have a space on the top right of the first page for the file mark of the recorder
If the quitclaim does not follow these requirements, it will not be accepted for recording.
Witnesses Are Required
In Arkansas, all quitclaim deeds must be signed in the presence of a notary public and at least two disinterested witness. "Disinterested" means the witness is not closely related to you, is not the grantee and has no interest in the property you're transferring. The grantee does not need to sign the quitclaim deed.
When all these requirements are met, you must bring the deed to the county clerk to record the transfer. The clerk will enter the deed into the public record. This allows future purchasers to see the chain of title.
Jayne Thompson earned an LLB in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LLM in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “big law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous financial blogs including Wealth Soup and Synchrony. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.