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Can I do a quit claim deed without a lawyer?

Troy, MI |

I have 2 properties that were quit claimed from my father to myself AND my father. I need to quit claim these back to him alone. I am concerned about probate versus capital gains at the time of his death. Unfortunately, I filed the original deeds. One is in Oakland County, One is in Pasco County Florida.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Preparing a quit claim deed (or two) can be done easily through an attorney. You can find a form online or otherwise for a QCD, but the relatively low cost to prepare deeds through an attorney makes it a great choice versus the risk of mistakes with a self-prepared deed. However, before you have the deeds prepared, you should consult with a qualified estate planning/probate attorney regarding all the options and potential tax implications. Attorney James Frederick is licensed in Michigan, is a regular contributor to this forum and would be an excellent choice.

    If this answer is helpful or you feel it is the best answer, please click that option. This response is for general informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The writer is only licensed to practice law in TN. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the answers by the named attorney do not create an attorney-client relationship between said attorney and the user or browser.


  2. While you can do the deeds yourself and execute them and record them, I would recommend you slow down and discuss what you are trying to accomplish with a probate attorney. Also, the transfers to your father could cause reassessment of property taxes. Im assuming your estate is not great, so the gift tax implications dont really apply. Regardless, you would be wise to meet with an estate planning attorney first.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  3. Yes you can, but as Attorney Dupler pointed out, it is worth having an attorney prepare the deeds to make sure they are done correctly. You should also consult with an estate planning attorney to discuss your concerns as it may not be necessary to quit claim the property at all to achieve your estate planning goals.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  4. Depending on how this was done, there may be no capital gains at death. You should have your deeds reviewed by an attorney. We usually recommend lady bird deeds, to avoid tax concerns like this.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  5. Your Father should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in the state where he lives about the benefits of creating a living trust and putting the property in the trust so it will avoid probate at the time of his death. That attorney can, also, discuss how you can get a stepped-up basis at the time of his death, which will avoid capital gains tax.

    Except for Federal Tax issues, my answers are limited to Michigan law since I am a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan. Moreover, answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  6. Doing something like preparing and filing deeds is easy. Thinking through the implications of filing the deeds is not. This is why you (actually your father) need an expert, an estate planning lawyer, to review all his estate planning, not just these two deeds. It will cost much less now to correct problems than it will after your father dies.

    I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. My answering your question does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.


  7. I agree with fellow counsel. I am often asked the question of whether the client can prepare a Qui9t Claim Deed. My response is, yes, just like you can remove your own appendix but i wouldn't do it without a doctor. You need competent legal counsel. There are numerous tax and estate consequences involved in preparing deeds and to try to do so without an attorney will bring you many problems.

    So there is no misunderstanding, this answer does not create an attorney/client relationship and you cannot presume that I am your lawyer or that my advice can be relied upon in any way other than for information only. You will not become my client unless and until you retain me.


  8. My response relates only to the property in Michigan. A Florida attorney must respond regarding the Florida property.

    You can prepare a deed yourself although it is not recommended because there are potential pitfalls that exist. I would have to see how the Property is currently titled, but the properties may not be included in probate if the Property is titled jointly with rights of full survivorship. If properly titled, the Property will avoid probate. If the property was titled to your father alone, there would be a stepped up basis upon his death and the beneficiaries basis would be the value of the property at the date of death. Please bear in mind that transfers between you and your father may result in an uncapping or partial uncapping that may result in increased property taxes.

    This response is based on limited information that you provided and does not establish an attorney client relationship. In order for an attorney client relationship to be formed, an engagement agreement must be signed and a retainer must be paid.

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