A quitclaim deed is just one type of deed a property owner can use to transfer ownership. In most states, the property owner must execute the deed, and then the new owner records the deed in the county where the property is located. This is true in Indiana; however, Indiana law has specific requirements for what a deed should contain to be valid.
Read More: How to Check an Indiana Title
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
In Indiana, quitclaim deeds must meet certain requirements to be valid. Once a valid deed is executed, it must be filed with the county recorder in the county where the property is located, and a filing fee must be paid. If the deed doesn't meet the requirements for a valid deed, the recorder will reject the filing.
Purpose of Property Deeds
A deed is a document that evidences ownership in a parcel of real property. Real property is, simply, real estate; it is anything that is not personal property. When someone buys real property, the seller signs a deed showing that ownership is transferred to the buyer. Deeds come in many forms, but the most common are warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds.
A warranty deed is a promise from the seller to the buyer that the property is his to sell, and that it is free from title defects, liens and encumbrances. At a typical real estate closing, the buyer pays off any outstanding liens so that clear title can pass.
Quitclaim deeds, on the other hand, make no such warranties.
What Is a Quitclaim Deed?
A quitclaim deed is a deed that transfers only what the owner has, with no warranties about title whatsoever. No title company need be involved. Quitclaim deeds often change hands without any money actually being paid, although the deed may say that the transfer was for some small amount like $1.00.
As an example, if Sam owns a house that has a $50,000 mortgage still attached but he wants to transfer the property to his brother, Bob, he can execute a quitclaim deed and transfer ownership without paying the mortgage, as long as his mortgage contract doesn't prohibit such a transfer.
Or, if Sam owns a house 50/50 with his friend Charlie and wants to transfer the property to Bob, he can execute a quitclaim deed; however, the deed will only transfer what Sam has, which is a 50 percent interest. Bob will then own the house with Charlie.
Read More: What Is the Advantage of a Quitclaim Deed?
Why Deeds Must Be Recorded
Deeds, mortgages and other property records should always be recorded. Recording puts the world on notice of who owns the property or who has a mortgage on the property. Recording prevents fraud and mistake. For instance, if Sam buys a house from Larry but doesn't record the deed, and Larry later sells the same house to Bob but Bob did not know about Sam's purchase, Sam could lose the house, because Bob was not on notice of the transfer from Larry to Sam.
Indiana Deed Requirements
For a deed to be valid, Indiana law has certain requirements that include:
- The deed must be notarized.
- The deed must contain a statement that says, "I affirm under penalties of perjury, that I have taken reasonable care to redact each social security number in this document unless required by law. This instrument is prepared by (printed name of individual)."
- The individuals signing the deed and witnessing the deed must be consistent throughout the deed and have their names printed or typewritten below their signatures.
- The deed must be legible and have 2-inch margins at the top and the bottom for the recording stamp.
- The deed must include a street address for tax statements to be sent.
- The deed must contain a legal description of the property that must match other records for that property.
Recording a Quitclaim Deed in Indiana
Once a valid quitclaim deed has been executed, the person who is the new property owner must take the deed to the county recorder in the county where the property is situated. She will have to pay a recording fee (which will vary by county), and the recorder will record the deed in the book of deeds for the county and return the deed to the owner with the recording stamp.
Read More: How to Find Out Who Owns Land in Indiana
- Indy.gov: Document Recording Requirements and Fees
- Indiana Legal Services: Quitclaim Deeds
- Legal Beagle: How to Find Out Who Owns Land in Indiana
- Legal Beagle: How to Check an Indiana Title
- Legal Beagle: What Is the Advantage of a Quitclaim Deed?
- Legal Beagle: How to Get the Deed for a Property
- Legal Beagle: What is a Warranty Deed?
- Legal Beagle: How to Find a Legal Property Description
Rebecca K. McDowell is a creditors' rights attorney with a special focus on bankruptcy and insolvency. She has a B.A. in English from Albion College and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. She has written legal articles for Nolo and the Bankruptcy Site.