Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Q is for Quit Claim

Let me preface this by stating I am NOT a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, and I don't dispense legal advice. If you need specific legal advice, you need to talk to a lawyer, not a real estate agent.

A Quit Claim Deed is kind of an anomaly in the world of deeds. Other deed transfers convey ownership of something to someone else. When propert is conveted with a General Warranty Deed, Executor's Deed, Foreclosure Deed, or Special Warranty Deed, these say that a person that has control and the capability to sell a property.

But, with a Quit Claim Deed, the Grantor may not actually have control of the property, or the ability to convey the property. But, that isn't what a Quit Claim Deed is for.

What it does is clear "clouds" that may be on the title. Let's look at a couple of scenarios.

CJ buys a house. Later, CJ meets and marries TJ. After several years of marriage, there are problems, and there is a divorce. After everything settles down, CJ wants to sell the house. TJ never owned it, and was never on the loan. The divorce attorney, or possibly even the real estate attorney might pursue TJ to sign a Quit Claim Deed to prove that TJ does not have an ownership interest in the property.

In the above example, the situation could have just as easily allowed TJ to have an ownership position in the property that they abandoned with the Quit Claim (assuming that CJ could maintain financing on the property).

Another example might involve a will. XJ leaves the house to one of the children, ZJ. The other children, WJ, YJ and JK might also be asked to sign Quit Claim Deeds to show that they do not have an ownership interest in the property.

Often, a Quit Claim is only brought into the picture if there is some sort of dispute. In other cases it is brought into the picture to prevent later dispute. The thing to keep in mind is that it doesn't convey property. It only shows that the Grantor has no ownership interest in the property. Finding a string of Quit Claims on a title search aren't necessarily a problem. Buyer's Title Insurance is almost ALWAYS a good idea, regardless of Quit Claims that show up on the search.

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