All deeds transfer rights and interests in a piece of property from one person to another. This is true in all states, including Alaska. A quitclaim is a type of deed, but it requires fewer formalities and offers fewer protections than other types of real estate deed. Alaska statutes lists the components you must include for a quit claim deed to be valid.
A quitclaim is a type of property deed which you can use to transfer title to a new owner. This is true in all states, including Alaska.
What is a Quitclaim Deed?
The two most common forms of deeds are warranty deeds and quit claim deeds. When you transfer property via a warranty deed, you are effectively guaranteeing that you own the interest you’re conveying to another person. With a quit claim deed, you transfer your interest without making any guarantees. As a result, the person you transfer the property to can’t sue you if you didn’t actually own the property you deed to him. He can only sue you if you conveyed the property through a warranty deed and made promises that you had a legal right to do so.
When Should You Use a Quitclaim?
Quit claim deeds are appropriate only under certain circumstances. For instance, if a property has a long and involved record of ownership and if someone’s name is still on the existing deed but shouldn’t be, that person can sign off on her interest via a quit claim deed. If a parent is transferring property to a child, either outright or after death through his estate, a quit claim deed can safely transfer ownership of that property. Spouses also commonly use quit claim deeds to transfer marital property from one to the other after a divorce.
Where it's not appropriate, is transferring property to a third-party purchase for value. Mortgage companies generally will not accept a quitclaim deed for title transfers so if you're selling your house to a financed buyer, you won;t be able to use this document.
Format of a Quitclaim in Alaska
Alaska requires that a quit claim deed must “substantially” meet a few criteria. There is no exact form you must use as long as you include certain information. If you’re the one transferring the property, you are the grantor. The person you are giving the property to is the grantee. You must give your complete name and address and the grantee’s complete name and address, as well as the legal description of the property you’re conveying. This information is included in the previous deed. The property must be located in Alaska.
You must also state what “consideration” the grantee is paying you for transfer of the property. Since quit claim deeds usually transfer property between family members, the consideration is generally something nominal, like $1. The Alaska Legal Resource Center’s website gives an example of the exact wording you should use.
Things to Consider
If you’re the grantee and you’re acquiring property through a quit claim deed from someone other than a family member, and if you’re actually paying substantial money to acquire the property, make sure title to the property is clear and that the seller has the right to sell it to you. Use a title company to prove it, if necessary. If it turns out the grantor has no legal right to transfer the property to you, you have no recourse to get your money back.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally for over 30 years. She is also a paralegal, specializing in areas of personal finance, bankruptcy and estate law. She writes as the tax expert for The Balance.