Georgia Quitclaim Deed Form
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What is a Georgia Quitclaim Deed Form?
A Georgia deed is a signed, written document that transfers title to real estate.1 Georgia law recognizes several types of deeds for transferring property. A Georgia quitclaim deed is a deed that conveys the current owner’s interest to the new owner with no warranty of title.2
The new owner named in a quitclaim deed receives whatever ownership interest the current owner can legally transfer. The current owner who signs a quitclaim deed does not guarantee that the deed will transfer actual ownership of the property or that there are no problems with the property’s title. The new owner therefore bears all risk of title issues and cannot sue the current owner for breach of warranty if a problem arises.
What Is Warranty of Title?
Warranty of title is a guarantee that a property owner gives when transferring real estate to a new owner. The guarantee is composed of one or more promises—or covenants of title—written into the deed.3 A transferor who fully warrants a Georgia property’s title makes the following promises to the new owner:
- The transferor owns the property and has the legal right to transfer it.
- No undisclosed liens, mortgages, assessments, or other encumbrances impair the property’s title.
- The new owner’s ownership of the property will not be interrupted by legal claims of third parties.4
Warranty of title protects the new owner by keeping some or all title-related risk with the former owner who signed the deed. The new owner can sue the former owner for breach of warranty if a title problem causes the new owner financial loss.5
Title problems covered by a deed’s warranty of title could potentially include:
- Unpaid liens;
- A dispute over the boundary with a neighboring property;
- A third-party claim that results from an error in an earlier deed or a gap in the property’s chain of title; or
- A missing right of way allowing physical access to the property.6
Warranty of Title and Georgia Quitclaim Deeds
A Georgia quitclaim deed transfers property with no warranty. A quitclaim deed gives the new owner as-is whatever interest the current owner legally holds. The new owner has no legal recourse under the deed if the deed fails to transfer valid, clear title to the property.7
Georgia deeds include no implied warranties or covenants of title.8 Thus, a Georgia deed only provides a warranty if the deed includes language that creates the warranty. In the absence of warranty language, a Georgia deed functions as a quitclaim deed and gives the new owner no guarantee regarding the property’s title.
Other Names for a Georgia Quitclaim Deed Form
Quitclaim deed is the most common name in Georgia and throughout the country for a deed that transfers property with no warranty. Quit claim deed and quit-claim deed are valid alternatives, but quickclaim deed is not a proper term.
Gift deed is often used interchangeably with quitclaim deed in Georgia.9 A gift deed under Georgia law is a deed that transfers property for consideration that lacks monetary value. A gift deed might list consideration as “for love and affection,” for example.10 Most Georgia gift deeds have no warranty of title and therefore function as quitclaim deeds. However, a gift deed can include a warranty, so quitclaim deed and gift deed are not perfect synonyms.
Other states use other terms for deeds with no warranty. Any of the names below can refer to the equivalent of a quitclaim deed:
- Release deed;11
- Bargain-and-sale deed without covenants;12
- Deed without warranty;13 or
- Non-warranty deed or no-warranty deed.
How Do Georgia Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
A Georgia quitclaim deed gives the new owner whatever title or interest the current owner has in whatever condition it happens to be.14 The new owner assumes all risk of issues with the property’s title.
Georgia law recognizes other deed forms that transfer real estate with complete or partial warranty of title—keeping all or some title-related risk with the current owner.
Georgia Warranty Deed Form
A Georgia warranty deed transfers property with complete warranty of title—sometimes called a general warranty.15 The current owner bears all risk of title problems at any point in the property’s chain of title unless the deed expressly excludes an issue from the warranty.
Georgia Limited Warranty Deed Form
A Georgia limited warranty deed—also called a special warranty deed—divides the title risk between the current owner and new owner. The limited warranty covers title issues that arose while the current owner held title and excludes issues from before the current owner acquired the property.16
Title Insurance and Georgia Quitclaim Deeds
A property owner who takes title under a quitclaim deed can potentially suffer financial loss if a problem arises with the property’s title. An owner can reduce the financial risk by purchasing title insurance. A title insurance policy is a contract between an insurance company and a policyholder who has an interest in a property’s title—typically a buyer, seller, or lender.17 The insurer charges an up-front premium and, in return, agrees to compensate the policyholder for financial loss caused by a title problem in existence when the policy was issued.
Title insurers arrange for a professional examination of the property’s title before issuing a policy. A title exam prior to closing substantially increases the likelihood that title problems are discovered before ownership formally changes hands.
Quitclaim Deeds and Other Georgia Deeds Used in Estate Planning
Georgia law recognizes other deed forms that are particularly useful in estate planning. Georgia estate-planning deeds let property owners arrange in advance for real estate to bypass probate when the owner dies. Georgia’s two main estate-planning deeds—life estate deeds and survivorship deeds—can also be quitclaim deeds if either deed transfers property with no warranty.
Georgia Life Estate Deed
A Georgia life estate deed gives the owner (or life tenant) a lifetime interest in real estate.18 Another person (the beneficiary or remainderman) receives the right to own the property afterwards. During life, the life tenant possesses and controls the property but cannot sell full ownership without the remainder beneficiary’s consent.19 When the life tenant dies, the beneficiary automatically takes complete title, and the property avoids probate.
A Georgia property owner who creates a life estate deed for an estate plan typically reserves the life estate and names the owner’s child or other family member as the remainder beneficiary.
Georgia Survivorship Deed
A Georgia survivorship deed places title to real estate in the names of two or more co-owners as joint tenants with right of survivorship.20 The right of survivorship means that a deceased co-owner’s ownership interest in the property automatically passes to the survivor upon the deceased owner’s death—with no need for probate. A property owner who creates a survivorship deed for an estate plan typically quitclaims the property to the owner and another person who the owner wants to ultimately own the property—such as the owner’s spouse or child.
Survivorship Deed is rarely a Georgia deed’s title. A deed is usually titled according to its warranty—for example, Quitclaim Deed—and survivorship deed is used as an informal description.
Note on Georgia transfer-on-death deeds: Georgia law does not recognize transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds. In states that allow them, TOD deeds let a living property owner designate a beneficiary to take title without probate when the owner dies. TOD deeds have no effect on property rights until the owner’s death, so the owner retains the right to sell, transfer, or mortgage the property or to revoke the TOD deed. A bill authorizing TOD deeds has been introduced in the Georgia General Assembly but has not been enacted.
Common Uses of Georgia Quitclaim Deed Forms
The most common situations for Georgia quitclaim deeds involve nominal or non-monetary consideration given for the property.21 Owners often use quitclaim deeds to transfer property to closely related persons or to change legal ownership without affecting actual possession. A deed that transfers Georgia real estate to an arms-length purchaser for fair market value is usually a warranty deed or limited warranty deed.
A Georgia property owner might use a quitclaim deed for any of the following goals:
- Joint tenancy. An owner wants to add a co-owner to the title to create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship.22
- Deed to trust. An owner wants to transfer legal title to a living trust the owner created for an estate plan.23
- Divorce. Co-owners who are former spouse want to place title in only one of their names under a property settlement in a divorce.
- Gift deed. Co-owner spouses want to transfer property to one or more of their children as a gift related to an estate plan.
How to Create a Georgia Quitclaim Deed
A Georgia quitclaim deed form must transfer ownership with no warranty, meet all of Georgia’s deed requirements, and accurately reflect the parties’ intended terms.
Georgia Quitclaim Deed Requirements
A quitclaim deed’s transfer language should clearly indicate that the deed provides no warranty of title. Georgia quitclaim deeds often use words like remise, release and quitclaim to describe the transfer to the new owner.
Georgia’s real estate laws do not imply covenants of title in deeds.24 A warranty-of-title disclaimer therefore is not essential, but it can help to avoid ambiguity.
Georgia General Deed Requirements
Georgia has recording requirements that every deed must meet to be eligible for recording and to lawfully transfer real estate. A quitclaim deed must comply with the following standards (among others):
- Paper size. A deed must be printed on 8½ × 11-inch (letter size) or 8½ × 14-inch (legal size) paper.25
- Party names and addresses. A deed must list the name and address of each transferor and transferee.26
- Property description. A deed must include a valid legal description that sufficiently identifies the property.
- Execution. A deed must be signed by the transferor and a witness, notarized, and delivered to and accepted by the new owner.27
Selecting a Georgia Quitclaim Deed Form
Real estate transfers are governed mainly by state law. There can be significant differences between states, so a Georgia quitclaim deed must be designed specifically for Georgia. A quitclaim deed intended for another state may be ineligible for recording in Georgia, fail to make a legal transfer, or cause title problems in the future.
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- Ga. Code § 44-5-30.
- McDonough & Co. v. Martin, 88 Ga. 675 (1892).
- See Ga. Code § 44-5-61.
- See Ga. Code § 44-5-62.
- See, e.g., Ga. Code §§ 44-5-36; 44-5-64.
- See Ga. Code § 33-7-8.
- McDonough & Co. v. Martin, 88 Ga. 675 (1892).
- Ga. Code § 44-5-61.
- See Ga. Code § 44-5-30.
- See Thomas v. Garrett, 456 S.E.2d 573, 576 (Ga. 1995).
- See, e.g., Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
- See Somerset County v. Durling, 415 A.2d 371 (N.J. 1980).
- See Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023 (Texas deeds have implied covenants of title “unless the conveyance expressly provides otherwise”).
- McDonough & Co. v. Martin, 88 Ga. 675 (1892) (declaring that “where the buyer takes a quitclaim deed … the maxim of caveat emptor applies”).
- Ga. Code § 44-5-62.
- Creek v. First Nat’l Bank of Atlanta, 267 S.E.2d 872, 873 (Ga. Ct. App. 1980) (limited warranty protects the new owner “against claims made (after the conveyance) by the grantor or by some person claiming through or under the [Grantor]”).
- Ga. Code § 33-7-8.
- Ga. Code § 44-6-80.
- Ga. Code § 44-6-87.
- Ga. Code § 44-6-190(a)(2).
- See Ga. Code § 44-5-30.
- See Ga. Code § 44-6-190(a)(1).
- See Ga. Code § 53-12-25.
- Ga. Code § 44-5-61.
- Ga. Code § 15-6-61(a)(10).
- Ga. Code § 15-6-63.
- Ga. Code §§ 44-2-14(a); 44-5-30.