When it comes to real estate, it is important that all transactions are documented on paper. That means individuals who no longer wish to be listed on a property deed must fill out a form called the quitclaim deed. This releases the individual from any liability associated with the property. A quitclaim deed in Washington state is similar to those used in other states and only requires a few key pieces of information.
What is a Quitclaim Deed?
A quitclaim deed is used to transfer ownership of a piece of real estate. This may be a parcel of land, a family home or a commercial property. The "grantor" listed on the deed is the individual who is relinquishing their rights to the real estate, while the "grantee" is the person receiving or retaining the property. It is important to note that the document simply removes the grantor as owner. It does not mean the property doesn't have debt associated with it or that another individual doesn't have a claim to it. It is always best to consult with a lawyer before filling out a quitclaim deed.
Quitclaim Deed Uses
There are several reasons one may wish to use a quitclaim deed in Washington. Perhaps the biggest reason is to transfer real estate from one spouse to another during a divorce. Additionally, a business partner may wish to sign over his interest in an office building to his partner or a new owner when retiring or moving on to another venture. Quitclaim deeds can also be used to transfer a piece of property to a trust fund or to change a title from tenants in common to joint tenants.
Filling Out the Quitclaim Deed
There are several websites, including the Washington State Bar Association, that have a complimentary copy of a quitclaim deed that you can print from home and fill out in your own time. The property owners, both the grantor and the grantee, will need to write in their names, current addresses and whether any monetary or physical item was given in exchange for the deed. This could be anything from $5,000 to a used vehicle.
The next section pertains to the property itself. You'll need to write in the property address, the Washington county the property is located in and a full description of the property. Finally, you'll need to add the tax parcel identification number.
Getting the Deed Notarized
You may notice in the quitclaim deed example that there is a section at the bottom of the form entitled "Certificate of Acknowledgment of Notary Public." This portion must be filled out by a notary public, who may or may not charge a small fee for their services. The notary is certifying that the grantor has signed the agreement of his own free will. If you do not know a notary, call your local bank, UPS store or county courthouse and ask if one is available. Colleges and military bases also typically have a notary if you're currently a student or serving in the armed forces.
Filing the Quitclaim Deed
In Washington, as with all other states, you'll need to take the notarized quitclaim deed and have it recorded. Depending on the county in which you reside, you may need to visit the county clerk or an office within the courthouse. The administrator will assess a fee for the service, so you may want to call ahead so you have the exact amount needed when you arrive. The deed will be copied and both copies will receive an official stamp. One copy is for your records and the other copy is sent to be recorded.
Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 13 years of experience, her work has appeared in LendingTree, GoBankingRates, Sapling, Zacks and budgeting.thenest.com.