How to Do a Quitclaim Deed in Michigan

Young couple filling out quitclaim deed form
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Michigan doesn't make you jump through many hoops to do a quitclaim deed. A quitclaim deed is a method for transferring property, with no warranties, to another party without going through a closing, and creating one in Michigan is as simple as filling out a form and filing it with the county.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

To successfully execute a quitclaim deed in Michigan, you need to fill in a quitclaim deed form and sign it in front of a notary. Then you pay any transfer taxes due and record the deed in the land recorder's office in the county in which the property is located.

Quitclaim Deed in Michigan

A quitclaim deed is a legal document that conveys an interest in real property. By using it, you transfer whatever interest you may have in the real property without any promises or warranties about what the interest is or whether the title is encumbered. For example, if it turns out that the grantor does not have any interest in the property, the grantee gets nothing. This means that there is a risk to accepting a quitclaim deed from a person you don't know well. However, quitclaim deeds are popular in Michigan as a simple way to transfer property interests.

Quitclaims are often used for transfers between family members, for transfers from one spouse to the other in a divorce and for moving property into or out of a revocable living trust. A quitclaim deed transfers the property as is, so any mortgages, property tax liens, judgment liens or other liens go with the property and are the responsibility of the grantee.

Preparing a Michigan Quitclaim Deed

Michigan law/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-565-152) doesn't impose many extra requirements for completing a quitclaim deed beyond the usual deed recording requirements. You must do the obvious things, like identify yourself as the grantor, identify the grantee and write out the property description. You can take the legal description from a previous deed. You won't need witnesses in Michigan, but you do need to sign before a notary.

Quitclaiming to Multiple People: Specify the Ownership Interest

If you're granting the deed to more than one person, you'll need to specify how they're taking title. For example, you can designate non-married individuals to own property together with rights of survivorship. In that case, the entire property will still pass to one owner when the other one dies. If you want to grant survivorship rights to the people to whom you're transferring the property, use "with rights of survivorship" language as part of the grant. For example, "To Ann Jones and John Garcia as joint tenants with rights of survivorship."

If no language is specifically added, and the grantees are not married to each other, they will take the property as tenants in common. This means there are no survivorship rights; each person owns their share of the property, and when they die, that share goes to their heirs and not to the other owners. For example, if you deed the property simply "To Ann Jones and John Garcia," they'll be tenants in common unless they're married.

If they're a married couple, they'll take title as tenants by the entireties. Tenancy by the entireties is a special form of property ownership available in some states, only for married couples. It means the same thing as owning with rights of survivorship, in that if one spouse dies, the other spouse owns the whole; however, it also means that the creditors of one spouse cannot go after the property they own together. If a credit card company gets a judgment against Ann Jones for $100,000 and she and her husband, John Garcia, own their house together as tenants by the entireties, the credit card company can't go after the house. If Ann and John were not married, the house is not safe from Ann's creditors.

Recording a Michigan Quitclaim Deed

Shortly after signing the quitclaim deed, take it into the county register of deeds office to record the deed. It is valid against third parties only after it is recorded. Before recording, you will have to pay all applicable transfer taxes, which are imposed on both a state and a county basis.

If you qualify for a transfer tax exemption, claim it. The most common exemption occurs if the amount the grantee paid for the property is $100 or less. But various other exemptions apply, so check with an attorney if you aren't sure. Many quitclaim deeds are executed showing consideration of $1 or $10.