Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Form

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What Is a Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Form?

A property owner can transfer ownership of Kentucky real estate by recording a signed deed.1 A Kentucky quitclaim deed form transfers the owner’s entire interest as of the date of the deed. The new owner receives whatever interest the current owner can legally transfer. The current owner, though, does not promise the new owner a clear title or undisputed ownership of the property.2

A Kentucky quitclaim deed’s distinguishing feature compared to other types of deeds is that it provides no warranty of title. A property owner who takes title through a quitclaim deed assumes the risk of problems with the property’s title and has no right to sue for breach of warranty if a problem arises. For that reason, quitclaim deeds are used less often to transfer property purchased in an arms-length sale and more often to retitle property without changing actual possession.

What Is Warranty of Title?

Warranty of title is a guarantee given by a person transferring property to the person receiving the property. The guarantee consists of one or more legally enforceable promises called covenants of title. Different types of Kentucky deeds have different covenants of title. A deed’s covenants are written into the deed or, in some cases, implied by law.

A Kentucky deed that transfers real estate with complete warranty of title—called a general warranty—includes five covenants from the current owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee).3

  1. Covenant of seisin. The current owner actually owns the property interest described in the deed.
  2. Covenant of right to sell. The current owner has the legal right to sell the property.
  3. Covenant of freedom from encumbrances. No undisclosed encumbrances—or third-party claims like mechanic’s liens, mortgages, assessments, or tax liens—impair the property’s title.
  4. Covenant of quiet enjoyment. No adverse claims will disturb the new owner’s ownership of the property.
  5. Covenant of warranty. The current owner will accept responsibility if a title problem arises and (if necessary) will compensate the new owner for any loss that results.

A deed that provides a warranty protects the new owner against unknown issues with the property’s title. The new owner has a legal right to compensation from the prior owner for financial loss caused by a title problem covered by the warranty.4

Warranty of Title and Kentucky Quitclaim Deeds

A Kentucky quitclaim deed transfers the signer’s interest in the property with no covenants or warranty of title.5 The new owner receives whatever interest the signer has and assumes the risk of title problems.

Title problems can reduce a property’s value, make it harder to sell, or deprive the new owner of the property itself. Potential title problems could include:

  • A lien or outstanding mortgage on the property’s title;
  • Unpaid HOA assessments or property taxes;
  • A dispute over the boundary with a neighboring property;
  • An error in an earlier deed that causes a gap in the property’s chain of title; or
  • A conflicting deed that gives another person a superior claim on the property.

Other Names for a Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Form

Kentucky uses quitclaim deed to describe deeds that transfer property with no covenants or warranty of title. It can also be written as quit claim deed or quit-claim deed. The word quitclaim can also be a verb that means transferring property without warranty or using a quitclaim deed.

Quitclaim deed is the term most commonly used nationally. Synonyms for quitclaim deed used in other states include:

  • Release deed (typically used to relinquish an interest to a co-owner or other interested person);6
  • Quitclaim deed without covenant (used in states that imply covenants in a deed titled Quitclaim Deed);7 and
  • Deed without warranty or no-warranty deed (used in states with rules disfavoring quitclaim deeds).

How Do Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?

The new owner named in a quitclaim deed form receives—with no covenants or warranty of title—whatever ownership interest the current owner has when signing the deed.8 The current owner makes no promises about the title’s validity, lien status, or anything else. All risk of title problems rests with the new owner.

Quitclaim deeds have the same capacity to transfer a complete, flawless title as other Kentucky deeds. But if the transferor does not possess complete ownership, the deed transfers only whatever interest the transferor can legally convey (if any).9 The new owner has no right to sue for breach of warranty if a quitclaim deed transfers a flawed title or no actual property interest.

Kentucky recognizes other types of deeds that keep some or all title-related risk with the current owner and give the new owner legal recourse for undisclosed title problems.

Kentucky Warranty Deed Form

A Kentucky warranty deed form offers the new owner the greatest assurance of valid ownership and a clear title. Warranty deeds—also called general warranty deeds—provide complete warranty of title.10 Only issues identified in the deed itself are excluded from the warranty. The date that a title problem initially arose is irrelevant to the warranty.

The current owner bears all risk of title problems under a warranty deed. If an undisclosed issue comes up, the new owner can seek financial compensation from the prior owner who signed the deed.11

Kentucky warranty deeds typically say that the current owner “will warrant the property” or transfers the property “with warranty” or “with general warranty.”12

Kentucky Special Warranty Deed Form

A Kentucky special warranty deed form lets the current owner and new owner meet halfway—with each party shouldering some risk. Responsibility for an issue depends on when the events that caused the issue occurred. Problems that took root while the current owner held title are the current owner’s responsibility. The new owner bears the risk for problems that arose earlier in the property’s chain of title.

Kentucky special warranty deeds typically say that the current owner “will warrant specially the property” or transfers the property “with special warranty.”13 Kentucky law assumes that a deed with either phrase is a special warranty deed.

Title Insurance and Kentucky Quitclaim Deeds

A new owner who takes title under a quitclaim deed receives no guarantee of valid legal ownership or a clear title. Some owners opt to reduce the financial risk of title problems by purchasing a title insurance policy. Title insurance is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to compensate the property owner or other insured person for any loss caused by title problems.14 Title insurers usually charge a one-time premium when issuing a policy and agree to cover any issues that were present but not known on the date of the policy.

Quitclaim Deeds and Other Kentucky Deeds Used in Estate Planning

Deeds intended for estate planning emphasize efficient transfer more than warranty of title. A typical estate-planning deed names a family member or other beneficiary to receive property outside of probate when the owner dies. Avoiding probate promotes privacy and cuts down on the time and expense needed for estate administration.

The most commonly used estate-planning deeds are transfer-on-death deeds, life estate deeds, and survivorship deeds.

Kentucky Transfer-on-Death Deeds

The Kentucky legislature has not authorized transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds. Where recognized, TOD deeds allow title to automatically pass to a named beneficiary when the owner dies. They have the advantage of not restricting the owner’s rights in the real estate during life.

Kentucky Life Estate Deeds

A property owner who creates a Kentucky life estate deed for an estate plan usually keeps the life estate—or the right to own and use the property until death. Another person named in the life estate deed receives the remainder—or the right to future ownership at the death of the life tenant (the person who has the life estate).15 After recording a life estate deed, the owner cannot interfere with the remainder.16 Thus, a life tenant can sell the life estate but cannot sell complete ownership of the property.17

A Kentucky life estate deed can—but does not have to—provide warranty of title. That means a Kentucky life estate deed can also be a quitclaim deed, or it can be a special warranty deed or warranty deed.

Kentucky Survivorship Deeds

A survivorship deed transfers real estate to two or more co-owners with a right of survivorship. A right of survivorship gives a deceased co-owner’s interest to the still-living co-owner automatically at death. Kentucky law allows co-owners who are joint tenants or tenants by the entirety to have a right of survivorship.18 Survivorship deeds let real estate avoid probate but also give the new co-owner ownership rights in the property during the original owner’s life.

The term survivorship deed is informal in Kentucky. A deed creating a right of survivorship usually has a title based on its warranty—for example, Quitclaim Deed or Warranty Deed.

Attorney Practice Note: Many states automatically assume a right of survivorship when co-owners are joint tenants or tenants by the entirety. That is not the case in Kentucky. Co-owners in Kentucky have a right of survivorship only if the deed that gives them the property unambiguously declares survivorship rights.19

Common Uses of Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Forms

A Kentucky quitclaim deed form is often suitable for transfers that involve little or no consideration—particularly when there is a connection between the current and new owners. A property owner might use a quitclaim deed for any of these goals:

  • Creating a right of survivorship. An owner can create a right of survivorship in property by recording a quitclaim deed to the owner and another person in a form of co-ownership with a right of survivorship. Joint tenants and tenants by the entirety can co-own Kentucky real estate with a right of survivorship.20
  • Transferring property to a trust. An owner can use a quitclaim deed to transfer real estate to a living trust created for the owner’s estate plan.21
  • Dividing marital property. Divorcing co-owners can sign a quitclaim deed to transfer co-owned real estate to only one of the former spouses under a divorce decree’s terms.22
  • Transferring property as a gift. An owner can use a quitclaim deed to transfer real estate to a family member as a gift.23

How to Create a Kentucky Quitclaim Deed

Kentucky has no statutory template or short-form language for quitclaim deeds. A high-quality Kentucky quitclaim deed form must be distinguishable from other deed types and comply with Kentucky’s legal requirements for deeds.

Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Requirements

A valid Kentucky quitclaim deed form transfers the current owner’s interest with no warranty or covenants of title. The deed must avoid language that expressly or implicitly suggests that the person signing the deed guarantees the property’s title.

Kentucky quitclaim deeds typically state that the current owner “quitclaims” his or her interest in the property to the new owner. Kentucky law does not require quitclaim deeds to disclaim warranty or covenants of title. However, an express disclaimer avoids ambiguity.

Kentucky General Deed Requirements

Kentucky’s real estate laws require inclusion of certain information in every deed. The county clerk may decline to record a deed that omits required items.24 While precise requirements vary between deed types and counties, examples of required information include:

  • The current owner’s and new owner’s full legal names and mailing addresses;25
  • A legal description of the property and derivation clause that identifies the deed or other source of the current owner’s title;26
  • The deed preparer’s name, address, and signature;27
  • The name and address of the person who will receive property tax statements after the transfer;28
  • The notarized signature(s) of the owner(s) making the transfer and (if an owner is married) the owner’s spouse;29 and
  • The current owner’s and new owner’s signed certification of the deed’s consideration or the property’s value.30

Selecting a Kentucky Quitclaim Deed Form

A Kentucky quitclaim deed form should accomplish the parties’ goals while ensuring compliance with Kentucky law. Quitclaim deeds designed for use in other states often omit information necessary for registration in Kentucky and fail to legally transfer a property’s title.

Need a quitclaim deed that meets Kentucky recording requirements?

Each deed produced by our deed creation service is attorney-designed to comply with Kentucky law. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed in minutes.

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  1. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.010.
  2. Brown v. Harvey Coal Corp., 49 F.2d 434 (E.D. Ky. 1931).
  3. Ralston v. Thacker, 932 S.W.2d 384 (Ky. Ct. App. 1996).
  4. See Bryant v. Engle, 335 S.W.2d 731 (Ky. 1960).
  5. Brown v. Harvey Coal Corp., 49 F.2d 434 (E.D. Ky. 1931).
  6. See, e.g., Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  7. See, e.g., S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-11, 33 Maine Rev. Stat. § 765.
  8. Brown v. Harvey Coal Corp., 49 F.2d 434 (E.D. Ky. 1931).
  9. Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 381.060; 381.150.
  10. Ralston v. Thacker, 932 S.W.2d 384 (Ky. Ct. App. 1996).
  11. Bryant v. Engle, 335 S.W.2d 731 (Ky. 1960).
  12. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.030.
  13. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.040.
  14. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 384.22.030(3).
  15. See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 381.040.
  16. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 381.360.
  17. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 381.110.
  18. See Sanderson v. Saxon, 834 S.W.2d 676 (Ky. 1992).
  19. Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 381.130(1); 381.050(1).
  20. Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 381.130(1); 381.050(1).
  21. See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 386B.4-010(1).
  22. See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(2)(b).
  23. See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 142.050(7)(l).
  24. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(5).
  25. Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 382.135(a)-(b).
  26. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.110(2).
  27. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.335(1).
  28. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135(1)(d).
  29. Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 382.130; 392.020.
  30. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 382.135.