Quitclaim Deeds in Florida
In theory, some South Florida real estate transactions are easier than others. But that's not always the case. Even to transfer property between family members can be complicated. That's because certain documents are required, and even inadvertent mistakes can render them null and void.
The following explains the importance of Florida quitclaim deeds – which are often used in these transactions – and the requirements for a valid quitclaim deed form in Florida.
What Is a Quitclaim Deed?
For starters, let's review some basic real estate terms. A quit claim deed is a legal document facilitating the transfer of ownership from one person or entity to another. The person who transfers his or her ownership of or interest in the real property is the grantor. The person who receives it is the grantee.
A Florida quitclaim deed tranfers someones ownership interest in a property without providing any assurances to the person receiving the ownership interest.
if the grantor doesn't really have any interest in said property, the recipient doesn't get anything; and,
the grantee assumes responsibility for any remaining taxes, assessments, liens, encumbrances, covenants, conditions, restrictions, rights of way, and easements of record.
Accordingly, quitclaim deeds are seldom used in transactions between parties who do not know each other. Instead, they are generally used in situations where the parties are related or co-own the property in question and one person is transferring their portion to the other. In other words, a quit claim deed is best suited for use in a transaction in which there is little to no doubt about existing ownership, or a simple written document is needed to clear the title.
Elements That Must Be Included in a Quitclaim Deed
A quitclaim deed is a legal document used to convey an interest in real property. As outlined in Florida Statue Section 695.26, quitclaim deeds it must contain certain elements:
- "Prepared by" statement (the name and address of the person preparing the quit claim deed)
- Grantor(s), the party giving the title.
- Grantor's mailing address
- Grantee(s), the person receiving the title.
- Grantee's mailing address
- Signature of Grantors and names printed under signature.
- Two witnesses, for each signature and the names of witnesses printed under signature.
- Notary acknowledgment, names being acknowledged and date.
- Signature of Notary, along with printed name and commission expiratio date.
When Should I Use a Quitclaim Deed?
While we can't give you specific advice without doing a detailed assessment of your situation, we can say that quitclaim deeds are generally used to:
- Shift property title from community property to joint tenancy
- Move property into a revocable living trust
- Transfer property in accordance with a divorce settlement
- Transfer one co-owners interests to another co-owner
- Transfer property that you now have sole ownership of into co-ownership with someone else
- Resolve questions related to an unclear inheritance
Requirements for Quitclaim Deeds
The requirements for a valid quitclaim deed can be found in Section 695.26 of the Florida Statutes.
Quitclaim deeds must include:
The parties' names – This means the complete legal names of the grantor(s) and the grantee(s). Abbreviations and nicknames are not acceptable. The grantor should be sure to include his or her name in the same way as it appeared on the deed when he or she obtained the title.
Property Description – A legal description is assigned to every real estate parcel in Florida. You can usually find it in the deed that transferred the property to the grantor. To be safe, you should also list the property's street address and the property “folio” number used by the property appraiser in quit claim deeds.
Witnessed signatures – Under Florida law, the grantor must sign the deed. To ensure your signature is authentic, you must sign the document under the observation of two witnesses and a notary public. The witnesses must also sign in the presence of the notary.
Florida Quitclaim Deeds Should Be Properly Filed
It is important to note that the transfer of a quitclaim deed only transfers the grantor's interest in the property, if any. This means that the grantee receives only what the grantor had at the time of the transfer, and there is no guarantee that the grantor had any actual interest in the property.Additionally, recording the quitclaim deed does not guarantee clear title to the property. There may be other claims or liens on the property that are not addressed by the quitclaim deed, so it is important to conduct a title search and obtain title insurance to protect against any such claims. It is always recommended to consult with a real estate attorney or other qualified professional when transferring property interests using a quitclaim deed, to ensure that all legal requirements are met and the transfer is properly executed.
Can a Quitclaim Deed be Reversed in Florida? Are There any Quitclaim Deed Loopholes?
There are several reasons why a quitclaim deed may be invalid in Florida, including:
- Lack of capacity: If the grantor was not mentally competent or of legal age at the time the deed was signed, the deed may be invalid.
- Fraud or misrepresentation: If the grantee obtained the deed through fraud or misrepresentation, the deed may be invalidated.
- Duress or undue influence: If the grantor was forced to sign the deed under duress or undue influence, the deed may be invalid.
- Improper execution: If the deed was not executed in compliance with Florida law, such as not being signed by the grantor or notarized correctly, the deed may be invalid.
- Prior transfer: If the grantor had already transferred the property to another person before executing the quitclaim deed, the deed may be invalid.
It is important to note that the burden of proving the invalidity of a quitclaim deed rests with the party seeking to invalidate it. If you suspect that a quitclaim deed may be invalid, it is best to consult with an experienced Florida attorney who can review the situation and advise you on the appropriate course of action.
Additional Requirements for Quitclaim Deeds
For a property transfer to officially take place, the completed quitclaim deed must be provided to the grantee. This can be done by a third party, mail or delivery services (with confirmation requested). Or if you prefer, you can hand it over directly. But simply executing and retaining a quitclaim deed is not acceptable.
Quitclaim deeds should also be submitted to the Clerk of Court for the county where the property is located. This is simply a matter of taking the deed to the Clerk's office and paying the recording fee (typically about $10.00 for a one-page quitclaim deed, if there are no money changing hands in the deal).
Please note that if the property in question is located in Broward County, you must file the quitclaim deed with the Broward County Records, Taxes, and Treasury Division.
Every week we see simple transactions derailed by basic elemental mistakes. Even something as simple as a quitclaim deed can have huge impacts if not done properly. Call us at (561)838-9595 to get started.
James Brown Law Handles Quitclaim Deeds
Avoid the common quitclaim deed mistakes and loopholes when attempting to do your own quitclaim deed. James Brown Law can help you complete your quitclaim deed for as low as $350.
Updated May 16, 2023