First, it is important to know what a deed is and its purpose. A deed is a legal document that conveys real property from one property owner to another and includes a valid legal description of the property being transferred that identifies the size of the property and the property’s boundaries. A deed is a conveyance itself and the primary purpose is documenting who owns the property when the transfer is complete. When selling or purchasing property, it is important that the deed sufficiently identifies the type of conveyance, the previous owners’ information, and the new owners’ information.
Deed Types and Protections:
A Quitclaim Deed is a conveyance of property from one person to another, but it does not guarantee to the grantee (the party receiving the property) that the grantor (the party who is transferring the property to the grantee) is the rightful owner of all interests in that property, or that they have the right to transfer the property at all. A quitclaim deed is generally prepared to transfer ownership between family members without any kind of exchange of money. Also, a quitclaim deed is given when there is no title examination. A quitclaim deed does not provide any legal protection to a grantee because the grantor is not liable for any issues or conflicts regarding the property after the transfer is complete. Should there be a transfer of property for value (i.e., if the grantee purchases the property from the grantor), then a quitclaim deed is not advisable. If the property is being transferred as a gift, or for the purpose of retaining a life estate in a piece of property, then a quitclaim deed may suffice.
Conversely, a General Warranty Deed is a conveyance of property from one person to another, but a general warranty deed contains guarantees (or promises) that the grantor is the rightful owner of the property and has the right to transfer the property. A general warranty deed is the most common deed a closing attorney will use when transferring property because it provides the most protection over the conveyance. Additionally, a general warranty deed guarantees that the grantor:
• Conveys the property free and clear of all liens and possible restrictions;
• Promises that another person will not and cannot claim ownership in the property for themselves;
• Promises to defend title against all other claims of ownership from others; and
• Promises that the guarantee extends throughout the property’s history.
Do not hesitate to reach out to Sullivan Law Firm, PLLC or Coast Title Company for any questions that may arise when you or someone you know is buying or selling property!
* THIS POST IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE TO SET UP A CONSULTATION AND TO EXECUTE AN ENGAGEMENT AND FEE AGREEMENT.
Legal Content Contributor – Nicholas Lewelling, JD Candidate 2023