A quitclaim deed is just one of several ways to transfer ownership of real property, like a house or land, and it's usually the quickest. With this type of deed, the owner simply "quits" or gives up his ownership rights in the property in favor of someone else. In Illinois, a quitclaim must be written in a specific way to be valid.
When Should You Use a Quitclaim Deed?
Quitclaims are useful documents if you want to transfer property quickly and without any fuss. It takes just a few minutes to fill one out – hence the mistaken colloquial name "quick claim" – and that makes them ideal for moving property around between family members – adding a spouse to a title or dividing assets after a divorce, for example.
Usually, when you sell real estate, you use a general warranty deed to transfer ownership. By signing a warranty deed, you promise that you own the property and that there are no liens, easements or other defects hidden in the title. Regular buyers – that's people you don't know who've negotiated a fair market price with you – will insist that you sign a warranty deed because it gives them the right to sue you if there are, in fact, problems with the title.
A quitclaim deed, by contrast, makes no promises. All you're doing is transferring whatever rights you may have in the property. You give no guarantee that the title is "clean," or even that you own the property. You could quitclaim your interest in Walt Disney World if you like, but since you don't have any interest, the buyer would get nothing. Any title problems become the buyer's problems and he cannot sue you if something goes wrong.
Read More: What Is the Advantage of a Quitclaim Deed?
How to Fill Out an Illinois Quitclaim Deed
The form itself is prescriptive, meaning the state of Illinois tells you exactly what words to include and how you should format the deed. If you're downloading a quitclaim deed template, make sure it complies with these Illinois rules:
- The deed includes a title: "Quitclaim Deed"
- The deed contains the following words: The grantor [insert name and address of the current owner], for the consideration of [insert the price, if any], conveys and quitclaims to [insert the grantee's name; the person who you're transferring to)] all interest in the following described real estate [insert description of property from the deed], situated in the County of ... in the State of Illinois.
- The deed must include the date (write this in).
- The grantor must sign, with his name typed or printed, below the signature. No witnesses are required for an Illinois quitclaim but you will need to have your signature notarized.
- Once printed, the deed must leave a blank space of 3.5 inches around all the margins for use by the recorder. Otherwise, the recorder may refuse to record the deed.
Illinois Homestead Rules
If you are married and transferring ownership to anyone other than your spouse, then your husband or wife also needs to sign the quitclaim deed. That's because Illinois has homestead rights, and your spouse cannot be removed from the property unless they give up those rights. Most Illinois-specific template deeds will have a standard homestead declaration at the bottom of the quitclaim for your spouse to sign.
Transfer Taxes and Recording
Illinois imposes a tax on the privilege of transferring real estate, but if you're moving property between two common owners, or you're gifting the property to a relative for less than $100, then the transaction is exempt. Otherwise, you're looking at a state transfer tax of $0.50 per $500 of value of the property, together with an additional county or municipal transfer which varies by county and city. Be sure to fill out the transfer tax exemption statement on your template quitclaim deed if you're claiming the exemption – otherwise you may get stung for transfer taxes.
The final step is to take the signed and notarized deed to the county recorder where the property is located. The transaction is officially completed when the quitclaim deed is recorded in the public property records.
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