If you are considering the transfer of a piece of Texas real estate, land and/or improvements, then you will need to sign a deed. Don’t be fooled by the advice of many that a “quitclaim” deed is all you need. It is not a one size fits all type of document and in most cases, it is NOT going to accomplish what you intend. There are three basic types of deeds in Texas used to convey real property: (1) general warranty deed, (2) special warranty deed, and (3) deed without warranty. Each primarily accomplishes the same thing with varying levels of protection – conveying the Grantor’s interests in real property. A quitclaim deed, also mistakenly referred to as a “quick claim” deed, can convey any interest in real property when properly drafted, but only if the grantor actually owns an interest in the property. It does not contain any warranty of title. As a buyer, please beware, this deed is NOT recognized as effective by most title companies and frequently does NOT constitute a conveyance of real property.
When To Use A Quitclaim Deed
Quitclaim deeds are often used to transfer property to family members. Landowners might use this type of deed to add a spouse onto a deed or to transfer property to children. Quitclaim deeds may also be used to ensure the grantor does not make a future claim of ownership to the property. Quitclaim deeds are uniquely suited for family and gift transfers, but they only apply to a deed and not a mortgage. This means that if you have a mortgage on your house and you transfer the house by quitclaim deed, you are still responsible for paying the mortgage on the property even though you don’t own the house anymore. This is because a quitclaim deed only transfers ownership, not any debts or claims that may exist on the property. Quitclaim deeds can also be used if there are title defects, such as a misspelled name, exclusion of a spouse, or ambiguous wording. The better practice, however, is to complete and file a correction deed to fix these types of defects.
To complicate matters further, quitclaim deeds do not protect the new owner from other claims to the title. If the title to the property is not clean, the new owner has no legal recourse against the original owner. Other types of deeds provide a warranty of clean title before transfer, but when using a quitclaim deed, the recipient has no such protection, and could be subject to claims held by the Internal Revenue Service, mortgage companies, or other creditors.
Get Help With Your Quitclaim Deed
Quitclaim deeds are a quick and potentially cheap way to transfer real property. If you are being advised to use a quitclaim deed or believe a quitclaim deed is adequate, you should seek legal advice. Otherwise, you may find yourself or your heirs litigating an expensive title dispute at some point in the future.
Choosing the right type of deed is critical. Before you transfer or accept a deed to any real property, contact one of our experienced estate planning or real estate lawyers at MehaffyWeber. We can analyze your situation and determine if a quitclaim deed is the best transfer instrument to protect your interests. Call us today to schedule an appointment.