A deed is a document that passes legal title to a piece of property from one person to another, usually from the seller to the buyer. A deed reflects the owner's interest in the property, and deeds differ based on the protections they come with. In Massachusetts, there are three types of deeds to property: warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds and fiduciary deeds. Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 183 governs deeds.
When a quitclaim deed is used in Massachusetts, the seller is conveying the interest he legally has in the property to the buyer while also simultaneously warranting that there are no encumbrances attached to the property. An encumbrance is anything that may affect the title to or interest in a piece of property. For example, mortgages, liens and easements are types of encumbrances. Thus when a quitclaim deed is used, the seller is stating there are no secret outstanding mortgages or liens on the property.
Fiduciary or Release Deed
A fiduciary deed, sometimes referred to as a release deed, does not have the same protections as a quitclaim deed. When a fiduciary deed is used in Massachusetts, the seller is conveying merely the interest he legally has in the property to the buyer, if he has anything at all. Through a fiduciary deed, there is no guarantee that the seller even has an interest. Also, unlike a quitclaim deed, there is also no warranty that the property comes without any encumbrances.
Quitclaim deeds are the most commonly used deeds in Massachusetts for sales of property, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. Fiduciary deeds, on the other hand, are typically only used when the seller is acting in a fiduciary capacity such as an executor of a will or a trustee of a trust.