UncategorizedThe Ins and Outs of Quit Claim Deeds

In real estate transactions, quit claim deeds stand out as a unique and sometimes misunderstood legal instrument. 

They facilitate the transfer of a property’s ownership without any guarantees regarding the title’s clarity or the presence of liens, embodying the simplest form of property transfer. Given their specific applications, including family transfers, divorce settlements, title clarifications, and trust transfers, understanding when and how to use quit claim deeds is essential for your clients. 

What is a Quit Claim Deed?

A quit claim deed is a legal instrument that transfers the grantor’s interest in a property to a recipient, the grantee, without any warranties of title. 

It is the simplest form of property transfer deed, but it comes with a catch: it only transfers the ownership and interest the grantor actually has at the time of the transfer, without guaranteeing that the title is clear or free of liens.

When is a Quit Claim Deed Used?

Quit claim deeds are most commonly used in non-sale situations where a formal warranty of title is not necessary. These scenarios include:

  • Transferring Property Between Family Members: Quit claim deeds simplify the process of adding or removing a family member’s name from the title. 
  • Divorce Settlements: They are used to transfer property ownership pursuant to a divorce decree. 
  • Clearing Title Issues: Quit claim deeds can help clear up a cloud on the title by transferring potentially problematic interests without extensive legal warranties. 
  • Transferring Property to a Trust: Individuals often use quit claim deeds to transfer property ownership into a trust. 

Benefits and Limitations

The primary advantage of a quit claim deed is its simplicity and speed, making it an efficient tool for transferring property rights without the procedural rigor of a sale. 

However, its main limitation is the lack of protection for the grantee. Since there are no warranties, if it turns out that the grantor doesn’t have a clear title, the grantee has little to no recourse against the grantor.


Because quit claim deeds are so simple to process, it is easy to cloud title using quit claim Deeds such as having a deed forged or having a rogue deed recorded against title and having an interest transferred away from the owner.  

We are seeing stories about theft of title in the news where a quit claim deed is recorded transferring the property away from the lawful owner and then sold to another party. There is also a risk where feuding parties have a quit claim deed forged and transferred away from one of the legitimate owners.  

In these instances, it might require expensive litigation to resolve the title issues. It might be helpful to plan a transfer to an Illinois Land Trust to prevent fraud from occurring against the rightful owners.

What Brokers Need to Know

Understanding the practical uses and limitations of quit claim deeds can help you have informed discussions with clients about property transfers. Here are key points to remember:

  • Educate Your Clients: Ensure clients understand that a quit claim deed offers no guarantees on the title’s quality. If they’re receiving property, they should conduct due diligence to confirm the grantor’s ownership and check for liens or other encumbrances.
  • Professional Advice is Crucial: Encourage clients to consult with a real estate attorney before proceeding with a quit claim deed, especially in complex situations like divorce settlements or estate planning.
  • Title Insurance: If your client is on the receiving end of a quit claim deed, advise them to consider purchasing title insurance to protect against unforeseen title issues.

Quit claim deeds are crucial in real estate transactions, offering specific uses and limitations. Understanding these can help you guide clients to make informed choices, especially when they work with an experienced real estate attorney.

The Minchella & Associates Difference


With over 40 years of experience in Illinois real estate law, Erica Minchella has represented thousands of home sellers and buyers, landlords, and commercial and investment property owners. For more information, schedule a consultation today.

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