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How Do I Transfer Property to Family With a Quit Claim Deed?

A quit claim deed is a simple real estate legal document used to transfer property rights, often between family members. To determine if a quit claim deed is the best option for you, consider the following:


Is there a trusted relationship between the parties or family members?


A quit claim deed is most often used to transfer property between parties who are familiar with one another and who have an established relationship. Unlike a Warranty Deed, a quit claim deed does not provide the new owner with any guarantees or warranties that the seller owns the property or has authority to sell the property, nor does this type of deed guarantee that a buyer is receiving the property free of mortgages.  


Due to the lack of warranties with signing a quit claim deed, it is typically only used to transfer title between family members, spouses or ex-spouses after a divorce, between a trust owner and the trust, or between other individuals who have a long standing and trusting relationship.



Do you want to correct a previously recorded deed?



A quit claim deed is often used to correct mistakes or to clarify information in previously recorded deeds.  Minor disparities can cause problems when a property owner attempts to sell the property unless a deed is drafted which clarifies or corrects the conflicting information.


Do you want to clarify how the property is owned?


Another common reason for using a quit claim deed is to clarify tenancy (how the property is owned by the parties) amongst the property owners.  Clarifying tenancy by quit claim deed can save time and money in the event of death of one of the property owners, for example; if a husband and wife realize the current deed does not specify tenancy.  In most states, if no specific statement is made, it is assumed the property is owned as tenants in common.  Most spouses or family members prefer to hold property as joint tenants with right of survivorship.  Doing so allows the property to pass to the remaining property owners without the necessity of an expensive probate after the death of one of the property owners.


Good to know - State differences



There are some state differences regarding transfer of after-acquired title.  Montana, Idaho, and Alaska allow transfer of after-acquired title using a quit claim deed.  In most states, a quit claim deed only transfers the interest owned by the seller at the time they executed the deed.  Usually, any interest in the property acquired after the signing of the quit claim deed does not pass to the buyer.