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Quitclaim Deed

QUITCLAIM DEED

An instrument of conveyance of real property that passes any title, claim, or interest that the grantor has in the premises but does not make any representations as to the validity of such title.

A quitclaim deed is a release by the grantor, or conveyor of the deed, of any interest the grantor may have in the property described in the deed. Generally a quitclaim deed relieves the grantor of liability regarding the ownership of the property. Thus, the grantor of a quitclaim deed will not be liable to the grantee, or recipient of the deed, if a competing claim to the property is later discovered. A quitclaim deed is not a guarantee that the grantor has clear title to the property; rather it is a relinquishment of the grantor's rights, if any, in the property. By contrast, in a warranty deed the grantor promises that she owns the property with no cloud on the title (that is, no competing claims).

The holder of a quitclaim deed receives only the interest owned by the person conveying the deed. If the grantee of a quitclaim deed learns after accepting the deed that the grantor did not own the property, the grantee may lose the property to the true owner. If it turns out that the grantor had only a partial interest in the property, the quitclaim deedholder holds only that partial interest.

In some states a quitclaim deed does not relieve the grantor of liability for all encumbrances, or clouds, on the title. In these states a grantor must warrant that neither the grantor nor anyone associated with the grantor has a claim to the title. The grantor must defend the title for the grantee if a cloud on the title arose under or through the grantor. For example, if a contract made by the grantor resulted in a lien being placed on the property, the grantor would have to defend against that claim for the grantee, even under a quitclaim deed. If the property has changed hands several times after the cloud first appeared, however, the grantor may not be liable to the grantee.

further readings

Anding, Gregory. 1994. "Does This Piece Fit In? A Look at the Importation of the Common-Law Quitclaim Deed and After-Acquired Title Doctrine into Louisiana's Civil Code." Louisiana Law Review 55 (September).

"Real Property." 1994. SMH Bar Review.

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