Forms for Gifting a Deed of Property in Virginia

Deed transfers ownership of real property in Virginia.
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With the price of real estate rising fast in many urban areas, a gift of real property is generous and welcome. Most gifts of real estate are transfers between family members, like from parents to adult children, but sometimes grantors donate real estate to nonprofits and charities. Real property is transferred by deed, and the types of deeds that can be used are regulated by each state.

Most states recognize the general warranty deed, the special warranty deed and the quitclaim deed, including Virginia. Usually real property that is gifted, rather than sold, is transferred with a special warranty or a quitclaim deed.

Property Deeds in Virginia

The Code of Virginia, like the laws in many states, mandates the use of a real estate deed to convey an interest in real property. The three most common types of deeds used in Virginia are the trio most popular in the rest of the country: the general warranty deed, the special warranty deed and the quitclaim deed. However, the seller, or grantor, can use any type of deed that doesn't violate the law.

Each type of deed offers different levels of protections to the buyers, or grantees. The selection of a deed to use in a Virginia conveyance usually depends on the circumstances of the transfer: the way the property is currently held, the intentions of the grantor and any legal issues involved in the transaction.

Virginia Warranty Deeds

Warranty deedsboth general and special/limitedoffer a property buyer more protection than any other types of deeds because they guarantee that the title is good and marketable. The grantor promises to defend from any and all claims made by third parties.

General warranty deeds, sometimes simply called warranty deeds, offer more protection than special warranty deeds since the grantor agrees to defend against third-party title claims no matter when they arose. In special warranty deeds, also called limited warranty deeds, the grantor promises to defend against any third-party claims that arose during the time he held title to the property. It is easy to locate these deed forms online.

Virginia Quitclaim Deeds

A quitclaim deed is unusual in that the grantor does not provide any covenants or warranties to the grantee. She doesn't even guarantee that she has an ownership interest in the property. Rather, a quitclaim deed transfers any ownership interest she may have to the grantee without any assertions that title is good or that the property is free of liens or claims.

A quitclaim deed form is easy to fill out and can be accomplished without the assistance of an attorney. However, it is not used in third-party transactions since anyone buying from a stranger wants covenants of title. It works well in some situations however, like transferring title from one spouse to the other as part of a divorce settlement.

Best Virginia Deeds for Gifts

Special warranty deeds or quitclaim deeds are most commonly used as gift deeds, when there is no compensation for the transfer. Generally grantors giving away property do not opt to use general warranty deeds with the extensive title protection, although it is perfectly legal to do so.

Which deed should a grantor choose when he is transferring property as a gift in Virginia? That depends on how much protection he wishes to provide the grantee. A special warranty deed does include covenants that the grantor owns a particular interest in the property. It offers much more protection than a quitclaim deed, but less than a general warranty deed.

Note that there is no deed in Virginia termed the "gift" deed. The term simply refers to any deed used to transfer a property without any payment.