quit claim deed

How to File a Quitclaim Deed: A Comprehensive Guide

Quitclaim deeds are used in real estate when risks are low, and money isn’t exchanged. They’re often used in family matters or estate planning, like putting a property into a trust or changing titles due to divorce. Filing a quit claim deed is mostly simple. But it’s crucial to know the steps for a trouble-free ownership transfer.

This guide will teach you how to file a quitclaim deed. It includes everything you require and guides you through each stage of the process. By the end, you’ll know all about quitclaim deeds, including when to use one, how to fill it out, and how they affect taxes and mortgages.

Understanding Quitclaim Deeds

Quitclaim deeds transfer property ownership from one person to another. They are specific legal documents. Knowing what they are for and when you should use them is vital. We will explain quitclaim deeds, their unique aspects, and when people normally use them.

What is a Quitclaim Deed?

A quitclaim deed moves a property’s interest from the seller to the buyer without any promises. It’s like the seller is giving up their right to the property, handing over whatever ownership they have to the buyer. This deed doesn’t check if the seller really owns the place or if there are any debts on it.

types of deeds for property transfer

Differences Between Quitclaim Deeds and Other Types of Deeds

Quitclaim deeds don’t give much protection compared to other deeds. For example, a warranty deed is the best. It promises the property is fully the seller’s and protects the new owner against claims. A grant deed falls in the middle. It only says the seller didn’t give the property away before, and they have no debts created.

When to Use a Quitclaim Deed

People use quitclaim deeds for non-sale property transfers. This can be between family members or when adding or removing a spouse from a property title due to marriage or divorce. They are also good for shifting property into a living trust. For inherited property, they help clear up who owns what. Commonly, quitclaim deeds are not for selling property because they offer no guarantees. Importantly, they don’t remove the original owner’s duty on the property’s mortgage.

Requirements for Preparing and Filing a Quitclaim Deed

To make sure changing property ownership is smooth, you must follow certain rules for a quitclaim deed. These rules include the property location, who needs to sign it, and how it must be notarized. More paperwork and forms might also be needed.

Property Location and Jurisdiction

The rules for a quitclaim deed change based on where the property is. For example, in Los Angeles County, the land must be within its borders for the deed to work. It’s key to look up the details from the county recorder’s office to ensure you’re doing everything right.

quitclaim deed requirements

Signature and Notarization Requirements

For a quitclaim deed to be correct, the owner selling the property (the grantor) must sign it. The purchaser (referred to as the grantee) may also be required to. A notary public must notarize the deed, making it official. The notary’s stamp should be clear for copying. If these steps aren’t done, the deed could be void.

Additional Documentation and Forms

Depending on your location, other papers might be needed for the quitclaim deed. In California, you must also fill out a property report when you file the deed. This report describes the property and sale. Check with the county’s recorder for specific rules about the deed’s appearance.

How to File a Quitclaim Deed

Filing a quitclaim deed is a simple process. It needs to focus on details and follow local rules. This way, the property’s ownership can be easily transferred without issues. This includes ensuring the deed is prepared, notarized, and recorded correctly.

Quitclaim deed filing process

Preparing the Quitclaim Deed Document

Start by making the deed document. Some states have forms you should use. But make sure the deed has the right info. This includes details about the property, who is giving it away and who is receiving it, and any other info needed by law. Asking a legal expert or using a good service to do good deeds can prevent mistakes. It also makes sure you follow all state and county rules.

Notarizing the Quitclaim Deed

The next step is to have the document signed in the presence of a notary public. Notarizing is key. It proves that the person who signed the deed is who they say they are and that they made their own decision. Most places need this notarization for the deed to be legal and ready for the next step.

Recording the Quitclaim Deed at the Local County Recorder’s Office

After notarizing, the last step is recording the deed. This means officially adding it to records at the county office. You’ll present the original deed and other needed papers and pay the recording fee. You can do this in person or by mail in places like Los Angeles County. Just make sure to send everything needed.

It’s important to follow the county’s recording rules carefully. Mistakes or missing parts can cause the deed to be returned without being recorded. The process can go smoothly by making sure everything is in order, which helps transfer the property without problems.

Quitclaim Deed Tax Implications and Mortgage Considerations

Using a quitclaim deed to transfer property has big tax and mortgage effects. Taxes like gift tax and documentary tax might need to be paid. This depends on how the property is being handed over.

If no cash changes hands, the IRS sees it as a gift. The giver must file a form 709 for gift tax. But, a big gift tax exemption is about $11.5 million. Gifts to spouses or trusts often don’t need gift tax paid.

In places like California, a special tax on property transfers exists. However, you might not have to pay this tax if the transfer is due to the giver’s death or other reasons. This must be noted on the quitclaim deed to get this break.

Thinking about the mortgage is also key. A quitclaim deed doesn’t take the giver off the mortgage. The giver keeps paying unless the receiver takes over the loan or does a refinance. This is an important idea to consider.

Selling the property later on might result in capital gains tax. However, if you acquired the property through a will or trust, you might not owe this tax. You could also face capital gains tax for gifted properties based on the giver’s cost.

It’s wise to turn to a financial advisor and estate planner to sort out these matters. They can offer advice on how to avoid certain taxes. For example, using revocable trusts for each party’s share can reduce tax and legal issues.


Quitclaim deeds are helpful in the right situations. But considering the downsides and looking into other deeds, like warranty deeds, which provide more protection, is wise. By knowing quitclaim deeds well, you can make choices that fit your needs. This way, you can have a smooth transfer of property that works for you.

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