How to Transfer a Property Name

You must sign and file quitclaim deeds with the local county.
You must sign and file quitclaim deeds with the local county. (Image: FPG/Retrofile/Getty Images)

When you want to transfer a property from one person to another, there is a particular legal document you'll need to fill out and file with your county. It's called a quitclaim deed, and is most often used to transfer property between family members or as part of an inheritance. It's also used when a property is given as a gift or placed into a business entity, or during a divorce when one spouse terminates ownership of a property. Quitclaim deeds are not usually used to transfer titles between buyers and sellers.

Consult an attorney if you have any questions about whether or not you should sign a quitclaim deed or transfer your property over to another person. Understand that once you sign a quitclaim deed, you no longer own the property.

Obtain a blank quitclaim deed from your county, an attorney or from a reputable source of legal documents, once you have decided to transfer the property to another person.

Fill out the quitclaim deed in neat handwriting or with a typewriter or computer program. Fill in the full names of both the grantor (the person who currently owns the property) and the grantee (the person who will receive the property). If the property is community property, meaning that two people currently own it, both people need to sign the quitclaim deed.

Include the complete legal description of the property. You can find the legal description of the property on your original closing documents, on property tax forms or on your deed of trust.

Sign the quitclaim deed before a notary. If the property is jointly owned, both owners need to sign the quitclaim deed in front of a notary. Notaries usually charge about $10 for their services, and they can be found at post offices or title companies.

File the quitclaim deed with the county in which the property is located. When the deed is filed with the county, it becomes part of the public record, and anyone can research the records and find that the property has been transferred from one name to another. There is usually a small fee involved with filing a quitclaim deed with a county. In some jurisdictions, you must file an excise tax affidavit at the time you file the quitclaim deed. You may also have to pay real estate excise taxes within 30 days after the property is transferred, depending on the laws in your county.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never sign a quitclaim deed unless you're sure you want to give up the property.

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