Deeds are legal documents that convey property ownership between two parties. The two most common types of deeds are warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. Quitclaim deeds are commonly used between related people to add and remove individuals from the property title. Usually, only the grantors must sign deeds. Before signing a quitclaim deed, you must understand what the deed does and what you are agreeing to.
Quitclaim vs. Warranty Deeds
A property title report provides a historical account of all the transfers that have occurred on a piece of property. The title lists all the past owners, sales prices, mortgage lenders and other lien holders by date. When a property owner holds a free and clear title, this means there are no outstanding liens on the property in the form of mortgages, unpaid property taxes, contractor fees or other judgments. When a property is sold, the seller generally provides a warranty deed to the buyer showing that the property title is free and clear of any of the issues mentioned above. Also, if for some reason an issue does arise in the future, the seller helps the buyer resolve it. A quitclaim deed does not provide this warranty to the buyer.
As previously mentioned, quitclaim deeds are generally used between related parties. A person can be added or removed from the title as an owner multiple times. For example, say John owns a home by himself. He then marries Sue and adds her to the title of his property through a quitclaim deed. Now, they are both owners. Later down the road, John and Sue want to add their grown son to the deed as a part of their will. This can all be done through quitclaim deeds. Additionally, parties can be removed as owners. If John and Sue were to divorce, one of them can be taken off title through a quitclaim deed.
Most states require only the grantors to sign deeds. The grantor currently holds the title as the owner. Grantors can be one or more people, depending on each situation. In a few states, the grantees have to sign, too, but this is less common. By signing the deed, the grantor agrees to the terms of the deed and willingly grants the property described in the deed to the person listed on the deed as the grantee. If someone is begin added, there may be additional language specifying how the title's vesting will be held. Joint tenants is a common example of vesting. If one of the owners is being removed, he signs off in agreement to this. Once the new deed is recorded, the grantees listed become the new owners. Any previous owners who were removed no longer have ownership rights. Also, the new owners are responsible for paying property taxes.
Most states require deeds to be signed in the presence of a notary public. The notary must sign and acknowledge the deed and stamp his seal. Additional witnesses may be required under state law. These precautionary measures help to prevent deed fraud. If you were forced to sign a deed, or your signature was forged on a deed, you have rights. The deed can be deemed invalid if the court sees fit. Trying to overturn a deed usually requires filing a lawsuit..