Quitclaim Deed Requirements in Tennessee

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A quitclaim deed is a deed that grants whatever interest the property owner has in their property. A quitclaim deed does not necessarily give the new owner good title, meaning full ownership of the land. It also does not convey any warranty that the owner’s title to the land is good or that it is even theirs to sell.

In the state of Tennessee, as in other states, the typical language of conveyance in a quitclaim deed reads, “I hereby quitclaim to [name of new owner] all my interest in the following land (describing it).”

This statement is typically followed by a legal description of the property. That may include a lot and block description, as well as the county and state in which the property sits.

Draft a Quitclaim Deed

A property owner can draft a quitclaim deed on their own, but a real estate or property law attorney can help or provide legal advice.

A Tennessee quitclaim deed form must abide by these requirements:

  • Be in writing.
  • Provide a sufficient description of the property.
  • State the date of the transfer.
  • Provide the names of the current property owner and the new property owner.
  • Contain the signature of the current property owner.
  • Be notarized.

The person or entity that grants the land is called the grantor. The person who receives the land is called the grantee.

A quitclaim deed in Tennessee must be acknowledged by a notary public, which involves the authentication of the signature of the person who is granting the land. The notary states that the grantor appeared in person to declare that they signed the document and knew that they were doing so at the time.

File a Quitclaim Deed

A person can file a quitclaim deed by submitting the executed deed to the register of deeds in the county where the real property is located. The filing fee varies by county and the length of the deed.

For example, Shelby County charges a fee of $12 for a quitclaim deed up to two pages; there is a $5 fee for each additional page. A quitclaim deed does not need to be registered in order to be valid.

Remove a Person From a Quitclaim Deed

A property owner can remove an individual from a deed, including a quitclaim deed, by executing a new deed that contains proof of the consent of the person to be removed. The new deed must contain the signature of the person who will be removed. If the person to be removed does not sign the new deed, the new deed is invalid.

If a surviving property owner jointly owned the real property with a person who died, they should provide the register of deeds with the death certificate, a notarized affidavit (sworn statement confirmed by an oath), and the new deed.

If there are multiple surviving owners, all of them must sign the new deed.

Consideration Is Not Needed

Consideration is something of value exchanged for the real property. Consideration can be actual, such as the fair market value of the land, or it can be nominal, such as a $1 fee for the land.

Capital consideration is an interest in a company, such as 100 shares of stock. A grantor may receive capital consideration for property if they transfer the property to a business.

A grantor does not need to receive consideration in order to transfer property by quitclaim deed or another type of deed. A grantor can gift a property to a grantee for no consideration. A deed can state the type and/or value of consideration, but that is not required.

Taxes and Quitclaim Deeds

A 2022 amendment to the Tennessee Code provides that a quitclaim deed is subject to tax on the actual consideration exchanged for the transfer.

If there has been nominal consideration, such as a $1, the nominal amount counts as the amount of consideration. The property will not be taxed on the greater of the consideration or the value of the property.

A deed should be treated like a quitclaim deed if it contains language similar to this statement: “I hereby quitclaim to A.B. all my interest in the following land (describing it).”

Conveys Only the Grantor's Ownership Interest

A quitclaim claim must convey only the grantor’s interest, not the property title itself. Language that is proof of an intent to convey the property itself includes the clause “to have and to hold.”

A deed that contains the phrase “to have and to hold,” or shows that intent, should be taxed as a warranty deed. A warranty deed conveys full title and guarantees that the owner will defend the property from others’ claims. Tennessee taxes a warranty deed on the fair market value of the property being transferred.

Note that the absence of a warranty in a deed does not ensure that the deed is a quitclaim deed. The Tennessee Department of Revenue strictly construes the preferential tax treatment of quitclaim deeds against the party claiming the benefit. This party is usually the grantee.

Pros and Cons of Quitclaim Deeds

The advantages of a quitclaim deed include: the transfer of real property without incurring great additional cost or needing the services of a title insurer. The grantor does not have to check the validity of the title in order to execute a quitclaim deed.

Quitclaim deeds are frequently used to transfer property:

  • In a divorce to transfer ownership to the former spouse. When a court orders that one spouse should transfer ownership to another, the order does not actually transfer the ownership. A quitclaim deed is used to accomplish that action.
  • To eliminate confusion about ownership of the property. A quitclaim deed transfers all of the grantor’s interest in the property.
  • Between family members, where the parties know the background of the property, and a title insurer has not issued a policy on the property.
  • In a Real Estate Owned (REO) auction that involves a bank-owned property that did not sell in a foreclosure auction. The buyer can use a quitclaim deed to make the title good.
  • To transfer a home to a limited liability company (LLC).

The cons of a quitclaim deed include a lack of warranty for the title. Also, a quitclaim deed does not ensure that the grantor is giving the new owner full title. For example, a grantor could hold a property subject to another person’s life estate. A life estate is a right to live on the land for the term of one’s life.

If a grantor uses a quitclaim deed to transfer property to a grantee, and a third person has a life estate to that property, the grantee will be required to allow the third person to live on the property until they die or abandon it.

Other Types of Property Deeds

Other common types of deeds include warranty deeds, also called general warranty deeds, and special warranty deeds. A special warranty deed guarantees that the grantor will defend the title from claims that arose during the time they owned the property.

A grantor who signs a special warranty deed cannot be held responsible for defending the property against issues that arose before they owned it.

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