A quitclaim deed is a document that transfers ownership of real estate from one person to another. You typically use these deeds to move property around between family members in the event of a marriage or divorce. Quitclaim deeds do not vary much from state to state, but in Ohio, if you're married, your spouse will need to release her dower rights before you sign.
How Does a Transfer Deed Work?
Most of the time when people are selling houses or land, they will sign a warranty deed in order to transfer ownership to the buyer. With this type of deed, the seller is promising that he has free and clear title to the property and there are no title defects on record. When a buyer receives a warranty deed, he's getting an assurance that no one else has any ownership rights, liens or anything else that could encroach on the buyer's ownership.
What is the Purpose of a Quitclaim Deed?
A quitclaim deed sits at the opposite end of the spectrum to a warranty deed. With this type of deed, the person who's transferring the property is making no promises or guarantees of any kind about the title. He's just "quitting" his interest in the property. Someone could even sign a quitclaim transferring the Willis Tower to his neighbor if he wanted. Obviously, the neighbor would not own the tower, as the seller had no ownership rights to convey.
Because of these limitations, there's a risk to accepting a quitclaim deed when you're paying the market value for a property. However, quitclaims are quick and effective ways to gift ownership between family members, such as when you add your son to the title or remove a former spouse from the title as part of a divorce settlement.
How to Fill Out a Quitclaim Deed in Ohio
Obtain a state-specific quitclaim deed example from the county recorder's office or download one for a small fee. It's a one-page document requiring you to fill out property address, the Ohio county where the property is located, the date the transfer will take effect and the name and address of the persons transferring and receiving the property. Look around online, and find an example of a quitclaim deed completed. This will show you how to write the details.
For clarity, it's a good idea to add details of the prior deed for the property. You can get the recorded volume and number from the county recorder's office.
Spouse Must Sign If You're Married
If you're married, your spouse will have "dower rights" in the property even if she's not listed on the title. In order for you to transfer your ownership, your spouse must give up her rights by signing the dower waiver declaration at the bottom of the quitclaim deed. You'll both need to sign before a notary public and pay the notary fee. The notary will witness your signature then add her own signature and stamp. The transferee does not need to sign the quitclaim deed.
Rules for Taxes and Filing
Ohio transfer deeds are subject to transfer taxes, although you generally get exemptions for gifts to spouses or children. Taxes vary by county; call the county auditor to find out how much the tax will be and how to organize payment. You'll get an auditor's stamp to show that you paid the taxes. Take the stamped and notarized deed to the Recorder of Deeds in the Ohio city or county where the property is located. Pay the recording fee and have the deed recorded. It's a good idea to request a copy recorded quitclaim for your records.
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