A quitclaim deed is a term used to describe a document by which a person transfers or quits any interest that person may have in a piece of real property and passes title to another person. The party receiving title to the property acquires only those interests and rights that the grantor previously had. A quitclaim deed releases the grantor’s interest in property without stating the nature of the person’s interest or rights, and with no warranties of ownership. While a quitclaim deed neither warrants nor professes that the grantor’s claim is valid, it prevents the grantor from later claiming any interest in the property. Quitclaim deeds are sometimes used for transfers between family members, gifts, placing personal property into a business entity, or in other special or unusual circumstances.
Quitclaim deeds are often used in divorces, where one party grants to the other full interest in property that they previously held as joint tenants. For example, if a husband and wife owned a home in joint tenancy, and the wife is awarded the home via divorce decree, the husband could execute a quitclaim deed to eliminate his interest in the property. A quitclaim deed only changes title to the property, not responsibility for the mortgage. The husband could still be liable for the home loan and could be financially responsible if the wife were to default on the property unless he also takes measures to remove himself from the mortgage. In the above example, the husband would have no interest in the property — if the wife sold the property, the husband would have no claim to money gained from the sale. Quitclaim deeds are also used in tax sales where property is auctioned off to pay outstanding tax debt.