Quitclaim Deeds in Florida: an Overview
This is a general guide regarding quitclaim deeds (or quit claim deeds) in Florida. This guide will serve as an overview of what quitclaim deeds are and (probably more importantly) what they are not.
What they are.A quitclaim deed (or quit claim deed, but not "quick claim deed") is a type of deed. A deed is an instrument by which an interest in real property (land) is conveyed from a grantor to a grantee. There are a variety of different types of deeds used in Florida, but perhaps the most defining characteristic of the quitclaim deed (versus the others) is that it comes with no representations, warranties, or guaranties of any sort.
What they are not.Compare the above with other types of deeds in Florida, such as the statutory warranty deed or the special warranty deed, which, as their names imply, do contain certain warranties. One of such warranties (absent in quitclaim deeds) is that the grantor holds legal title to the property being conveyed and has the capacity to convey the property.
So by contrast, a quitclaim deed is, simply, an instrument by which a grantor says to the grantee, "Whatever interest I have in this real property, I am giving to you. I may own half. I may own nothing. There may be liens. The property could be in foreclosure. But here you go. Enjoy."
Their usefulness.Because of the lack of warranties, generally, a quitclaim deed should not be utilized as the conveying instrument in an arms-length purchase/sale transaction in which a buyer is paying good consideration (money, etc.) to a seller for the property. Any such buyer should want all of the customary recitals/warranties/representations contained in, let's say, a general warranty deed. Nevertheless, quitclaim deeds can still be useful in some situations. These can include conveyances among family members (perhaps when no consideration is given), to correct or cure defects or deficiencies in title, for estate planning purposes, and sometimes even to settle litigated matters involving land. There are certainly other situations in which a quitclaim deed could be utilized and also note that any of the above-mentioned situations are highly dependent on the facts of a given matter. As such, there is, unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all situation in which a quitclaim deed can or should be utilized.
What is a grantor or grantee to do?If parties to a land transaction are at the point when they are trying to figure out specifically which conveying instrument is to be used, they should back up and consult with a qualified attorney, such as a Florida real estate lawyer. This is because, more important than the question of whether a quitclaim deed should be used, the attorney will be able to advise the parties as to aspects of the conveyance that may otherwise be ignored when parties prepare their own documents. These can include aspects such as liability for the payment of documentary stamp tax, and how title should vest when there are multiple grantees. Also, because tax and medicaid planning aspects can apply in some situations, a qualified estate planning attorney should also be consulted with in most instances.
Disclaimer: The content of this guide is intended to convey general information only and it should not be relied upon as legal advice. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.