The three most commonly used deeds to transfer title are a General Warranty Deed (GWD), a Limited Warranty Deed (LWD) and a Quit Claim Deed (QCD).
A General Warranty Deed provides a warranty to the Buyer (the Grantee) for any and all prior problems with title, not just title issues that occurred during the Seller’s (the Grantor) period of ownership. A GWD offers the highest level of protection to the grantee
On the other hand, when transferring property to a Buyer by way of a Limited Warranty Deed, the owner is limiting the warranty to the period during which the owner owned the property.
A Quit Claim Deed is most commonly used when a quick transfer of property is needed without the requirement of extensive assurances provided by a General Warranty Deed or a Limited Warranty Deed.
Unlike the General Warranty Deed and the Limited Warranty Deed, a Quit Claim Deed makes no assurances or warranties whatsoever about the property. The Grantor is not warranting that title is clean. In fact, the Grantor isn’t even warranting that he or she owns or has “good title” the property.
Quit Claim Deeds are typically used to convey real estate through a Will or as a gift, to place a property into a trust or to distribute property as part of a divorce settlement. In addition, conveying property from one family member to another or adding a spouse to title would use a Quit Claim Deed.
These transfers usually do not involve an exchange of funds and are regarded as transactions with low risk of fraud or misrepresentation.
Finally, Quit Claim Deeds are used to cure a defect in title. If a title issue arises in the way of a missing signature, the misspelling of a grantee’s name or a recording error, then a Quit Claim Deed can be used to correct the error and perfect the grantee’s title.
For the most part, in a standard Purchase & Sale transaction, a Quit Claim Deed should not be used because it does not offer the same guarantees that a General or Limited Warranty Deed does.
Written by Dal Burton, Jr. Attorney, McManamy McLeod Heller, Intown Office
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