To Deed or Not to Deed…

One of the most prevalent requests we receive as real estate attorneys is to prepare a deed in order to transfer title to a property. More often than not, a client will ask that we prepare a quitclaim deed (or, as many people mistakenly call it, a “quick claim” deed) on their behalf. For whatever reason, there is a common misconception that quitclaiming title to a property is the best and easiest way to transfer title. The reality, however, is that deeding a property without the advice of legal counsel can lead to serious unintended consequences. Some of those consequences include an ineffective transfer, voiding your owner’s title insurance policy, unknowingly owing thousands of dollars in transfer taxes, the deed being rejected by the recording office and creating future title defects on your property.

First and foremost, you should understand that conveying a property via quitclaim deed may actually void the existing owner’s title insurance policy. This is because the owner’s policy only remains in effect if the grantor (seller) provides certain warranties to the grantee (buyer). Because these warranties are not included as part of the quitclaim deed, the new owner may then be susceptible to title claims without any protection.

Other factors that must be considered when conveying a property include, but are not limited to:
• Is there currently a mortgage on the property that will remain on the property?
• Is the transfer required as part of a Marital Settlement Agreement?
• Are you transferring it to or from an entity owned by the same parties?
• Is the property your homestead?
• Are you married?
• Is the deed being recorded in a 2nd county or to correct a prior deed?

The answer to any of these questions can drastically affect how your deed must be drafted and the cost associated with the transfer of title. With so many variables and the potential for costly mistakes, we recommend consulting with your local real estate attorney if you are considering transferring title to your property.


Bishoy M. Habib, Esq.,
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

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