the property is co-owned by my present wife and her ex-husband and he is currently occupying the property but is willing (anxious) to walk away from all claims to the property. her name is on the mortgage along with his. we are willing to take possession of the property and, if at all possible, we would like to get my name added to the deed upon assumption of the property. i am interested in protecting us against any future claims to the property by the ex-husband.
The timing of the transfer of property interests is very important in Maryland. If you were to accept a quitclaim deed from the ex-husband to yourself, you and your wife would own the property as "tenants in common." Tenants in common have no rights of survivorship (e.g. if your wife dies, her share in the property does NOT automatically pass to you), and can freely convey their interest to other people ("good morning honey, I sold my half of the house to the neighbors").
If you are interested in immunizing you and your wife from liability in general, I suggest you execute a deed from your wife and her ex-husband to your wife and yourself. By taking the property at the SAME TIME, you will own the house as "tenants by the entireties" (T by E).
By owning property as T by E, judgments and liabilities of the individual cannot attach to your marital home. For instance, if your wife accidentally hits someone in her car, and owes that person money as a result, the victim cannot attach the judgment to your home if it is owned as T by E.
There are many benefits to owning property as T by E rather than "joint tenants" or "tenants in common." I suggest you consult an attorney before you execute any title instrument.