A quitclaim deed, which is commonly misspelled as "quit claim," is a simple document that releases or "quits" one's interest in a piece of real property. The two most common occasions when quitclaims are used are after a divorce, when one spouse conveys marital property to another; and during estate planning, when a person wishes to convey property to an heir prior to death.
Drafting the Quitclaim
Quitclaim deeds, often simply called "quitclaims" by legal professionals, are instruments drafted by attorneys according to the form approved by their state's laws. Each quitclaim will look slightly different from state to state, but they are usually only a page in length and worded quite simply. A quitclaim will state the name of the grantor who is releasing interest in real property and the grantee to whom interest is "forever" quitclaimed. A description of the property follows, such as a street address (if the property is a home).
Signing the Quitclaim
In most states, a quitclaim provides a signature line only for the grantor who is releasing interest in a piece of property, as well as one for a notary. However, some states (Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, and Vermont) require a quitclaim to be signed in the presence of more than just the grantor, and some may provide a signature line for the grantee. A quitclaim is always signed in the presence of a notary. The form also provides for the date the quitclaim is signed, as well as the county where the property exists.
Recording the Quitclaim
After the quitclaim is notarized, it is recorded in the land office in the county where the property is located. A copy is usually sent to the grantor, grantee and the title company. Once an individual relinquishes his rights in real property in this manner, it is impossible to get those rights back, unless it can be proved that the quitclaim was signed under duress or threat. If you have any question about whether you should sign a quitclaim or if you're feeling pressured into signing a quitclaim, contact an attorney who specializes in real estate law.