How to Prepare & Record a Quit Claim Deed

Real estate disputes can be part of the property ownership experience, as are haggling over placement of a fence with a neighbor or dividing property as part of a divorce. When you reach agreement on how to resolve the dispute, a quit claim deed is often prepared and recorded as the final step in the resolution. The person who signs the quit claim deed is surrendering all of his legal rights to the property described in the deed. Preparing the quit claim deed requires finding a form that is commonly used in your state. Recording the quit claim deed is done at the local government office for public real estate records where the property is located.

Quit Claim Deed Form

Blank quit claim deeds are fairly easy to obtain. Although the language used in the deed is similar in all states, you should look for a blank form of quit claim deed used in your state. Some online legal resources provide blank quit claim deed forms, and most local government recording offices do as well. Other sources of blanks forms are office supply stores, title companies and real estate agents.

Preparing the Quit Claim Deed

A quit claim deed form is a short, one page document with blank spaces to fill in the following basic information: the name of the person quit claiming the property interest, the name of the person receiving the quit claim and the property’s legal description. The upper left corner of the form typically provides space to insert the name and address of the person receiving the quit claim so it can be mailed to her by the government recording office after it is recorded. Other information that may be required includes the local tax assessor’s identifying information for the property and the applicable documentary transfer tax. States that impose a documentary transfer tax on deeds usually exempt deeds that are used for a purpose that does not include the sale of real estate, such as a traditional arms-length transaction. For example, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office provides a list of such exemptions in California with suggested language to insert in the deed to claim the exemption. In Arizona, a separate form is required for the documentary tax, with the state exemptions listed on the back of the form.

Recording Procedure

After the quit claim form is filled out with the necessary information, the person quit claiming the property must sign the form in the presence of a notary. All deeds must be notarized before they can be filed with the local government recording office for real estate records. Some states also require additional forms to be filed with the deed, such as in Arizona, where a separate form is used for the documentary tax information. The best way to learn all the filing requirements of your local government recording office, including the recording fees, is to check its website, call or visit the office. In most states, the government recording office for real estate deeds is a county office or courthouse. However, a few states and local areas within a state require deeds to be recorded in a city or town office.

Other Considerations

Preparing and recording a quit claim deed has legal consequences. Because of the relative simplicity in using a quit claim deed, some mistakenly believe that a quit claim can easily be reversed after it's signed and delivered. This is not true. If the person receiving the quit claim deed isn't willing to cooperate to undo the process, the quit claim deed can only be reversed by filing a lawsuit and proving that the deed was given as a result of fraud. Proving such a case would be difficult, time consuming and expensive.

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