What Legal Rights Does the Grantee of a Quit Claim Deed Have?

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A quit claim deed makes no guarantees.
A quit claim deed makes no guarantees. (Image: series object on white: isolated - Signature image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com)

The quit claim deed's primary characteristic is the lack of guarantees and rights for the grantee. All that the quit claim deed says is that if the grantor has any rights to the property they are transferred to the grantee. An unwary grantee can find that he has not gotten a property at all or has received a title that is not clear and will have no legal recourse.

Transfer of Grantor's Rights

The only legal rights the grantee receives is any and all interests or rights the grantor had in the property. The grantor “quits” any claim to the property. The quit claim deed does not specify what these rights are and offers no guarantees. It is up to the grantee to determine what the grantor's rights to the property were.

Risks

The grantee has no rights beyond the interests of the grantor and therefore assumes a significant risk when accepting a quitclaim deed. The first risk is that the grantor does not actually have an interest in the property at all. In these cases the grantee would receive nothing and have no recourse. The second concern is that the property title may have a lien against it, for example, from a secured debt or taxes that have not been paid. This lien would come with the property and now be the grantee's responsibility.

Uses

Despite these concerns, there are still cases where a quitclaim deed is the most appropriate choice. The most common use of the quitclaim deed is during divorces when one spouse will be getting the house. In this case, both parties are aware of the state of the title and it may even be desirable to transfer any liens with the property. Another use of the quit claim deed is to transfer all or partial ownership of the property between people who know each other well. For example, transferring partial ownership to a new spouse or business partner or a parent transferring ownership to a child.

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