A deed is a document that acts as an instrument to convey real property from one party -- the grantor -- to another party -- the grantee -- usually after an agreement is signed that this transaction will take place. A quitclaim deed -- sometimes erroneously referred to as a "quick claim" deed -- is a form of this instrument that quickly transfers property, usually involving no exchange of money or other assets. There are good reasons for you to use a quitclaim deed and good reasons to stay away from them, especially when there is the potential for fraud.
Obtaining a quitclaim deed transfers real property owned by one party to another party with no warranties. Complete a quitclaim deed form with the title of the form at the top, a legal description of the property, the names and addresses of the grantee and grantor, county and town the property is located in, and a map of the property. Sign this form in the presence of a notary public, and file with the county Register of Deeds. In some counties, the document cannot be filed without verification that no delinquent county taxes are owed on the property. Filing fees are $14 to $19 for the first page, $3 for each additional page as of 2011.
Reasons to Get One
You will want a quitclaim deed when a property is inherited from a deceased individual. With a new marriage, a quitclaim deed can add a new spouse's name for co-ownership of the property. This form also can remove a spouse's name when you become divorced. It can be used to transfer ownership to a living trust or any other individual or entity, particularly if no money is being exchanged.
Reasons Not to Get One
When buying a house, it would not be wise to use a quitclaim deed to transfer ownership since there is no legal due diligence associated with this property. There is no title search required, so if something unexpected occurs after the transfer is completed, there are no remedies to pursue the previous owner for correcting the issue. For instance, if an undisclosed lien is discovered for the property, it would be up to the current owner to remedy if the previous owner does not.
Caution Against Fraud
Quitclaim deeds have been used in scams to take property from cash-strapped homeowners. Be leery about signing over your home to individuals who promise quick cash, help getting out of foreclosure trouble, or any host of mortgage or property issues. If you sign a quitclaim deed under fraudulent conditions, hire a real estate lawyer and pursue court action against the other party to rescind the deed or receive monetary damages.
Yolanda Brown has been writing business-related material since 2005. She owns two businesses and currently publishes "Cardinal Rules," a resource of business-building tips for small- to medium-sized firms. Brown holds a Master of Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia.