Maryland Quitclaim Deed Form

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What is a Maryland Quitclaim Deed Form?

A Maryland property owner transfers ownership with a signed, written deed.1 Maryland recognizes several types of deeds that have different legal effects or purposes. A Maryland quitclaim deed form transfers property with no warranty of title or covenants.2 The new owner receives whatever interest the current owner can transfer, but the current owner does not guarantee that the deed passes a clear title or actual ownership of the property.

What Is Warranty of Title?

Warranty of title is a guarantee that the person transferring property (the grantor or transferor) gives to the person receiving it (the grantee or transferee). The guarantee is made up of one or more promises—called covenants of title—about the legal status and validity of the property’s title. Different deeds can provide different levels of warranty—depending on the type of deed and the covenants of title it contains.

Warranty of title protects the new owner from title defects—problems with a property’s title that can reduce its value or marketability. Title problems affecting a property might include:

  • Unpaid tax liens, mortgages, HOA assessments, or other encumbrances (third-party rights in the property that may reduce its value);3
  • An existing dispute over the legal boundary with a neighboring property;
  • An uncertain chain of title due to an error in an earlier deed; or
  • Conflicting ownership claims caused by improper administration of a prior owner’s estate.

A transferor who offers warranty of title agrees to accept responsibility if undisclosed title problems emerge. The new owner can sue for breach of warranty or breach of covenant if a title problem within the warranty becomes known.

Maryland Short-Form Covenants of Title

Maryland deeds have no implied warranty or covenants of title.4 A deed has a warranty only if one or more covenants of title are written in the deed. Maryland has a short-form system that incorporates the full statutory definitions for the following covenants of title if the short-form phrases are present in the deed.

  • Covenant of general warranty (the grantor “will warrant generally the property hereby granted”);5
  • Covenant of special warranty (the grantor “will warrant specially the property hereby granted”);6
  • Covenant of seisin (the grantor “is seized of the land hereby granted”);7
  • Covenant of power to convey (the grantor “has the right to grant the land”);8
  • Covenant of quiet enjoyment (the grantor covenants that the grantee “shall quietly enjoy the land”);9
  • Covenant against encumbrance (the grantor covenants “that the land is free and clear of all encumbrances”);10
  • Special covenant against encumbrance (the grantor covenants “that he has done no act to encumber the land”);11
  • Covenant of further assurance (the grantor covenants “that he will execute further assurances of the land as may be requisite”).12

Warranty of Title and Maryland Quitclaim Deeds

A Maryland quitclaim deed form, by definition, offers no warranty or covenants of title.13 The transferee receives whatever property interest the transferor can lawfully give and bears all risk of problems with the property’s title. If the transferor has no actual interest, the transferee receives nothing and has no recourse against the transferor under the deed.14

Other Names for a Maryland Quitclaim Deed Form

Quitclaim deed can be written alternatively as quit claim deed or quit-claim deed and is sometimes shortened to just quitclaim. A quickclaim deed is not an actual legal document—though the term is often used in error.

There are a few states where quitclaim deeds include implied covenants of title unless the deed expressly disclaims them. Those states use the name quitclaim deed without covenant for deeds with no warranty.15

A few states have real estate rules that make title insurers wary of deeds that use the name quitclaim deed. A no-warranty deed, non-warranty deed, or deed without warranty can fill the role of a quitclaim deeds in states where those issues are present.16

Release deed or deed of release are common synonyms for quitclaim deed in some states, but not in Maryland.17 In Maryland, a deed of release is usually a document a secured creditor records to release a mortgage or deed of trust.

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

A Maryland quitclaim deed gives the new owner whatever right, title, and interest the current owner holds in the property with no covenants of title or warranty.18 The new owner receives the property “on an as is, where is basis” and bears all risk of title problems.19 The transferor is not liable for breach of covenant if the deed transfers a flawed title or no title at all.20

Maryland recognizes two types of deeds that transfer real estate with warranty of title: general warranty deeds and special warranty deeds.21 Both types guarantee the property’s title and keep at least some title-related risk with the current owner.

Maryland Special Warranty Deeds and General Warranty Deeds

General warranty deeds and special warranty deeds differ in the scope of their warranties.22

A special warranty deed guarantees that the property is free from title problems caused by anything the current owner did or neglected to do. A special warranty deed effectively splits the title-related risk. The current owner bears the risk for problems that arose while he or she owned the property. The new owner assumes the risk for anything else. Special warranty deeds are the most common deed for sales of Maryland real estate.

A general warranty deed guarantees that the property is completely free from title problems. All title problems not expressly excluded by the deed fall within the warranty—regardless of when a problem occurred. The current owner therefore bears all the risk. General warranty deeds are also used for sales but are much less common in Maryland than special warranty deeds.

Title Insurance and Maryland Quitclaim Deeds

A Maryland quitclaim deed provides the new owner no financial protection against potential problems with the property’s title. An owner who acquires Maryland real estate through a quitclaim deed can insure against the potential financial loss by purchasing title insurance.

Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects a property owner, lender, or another interested party from problems with a property’s title.23 A title insurance policy covers most of the same issues as a warranty of title. The difference is that the insurance company bears the financial risk of title issues instead of a party to the deed. A title insurer arranges for a professional title examination before issuing a policy, charges an up-front premium, and promises to compensate the insured person if an unidentified title problem arises later.

Quitclaim Deeds and Other Maryland Deeds Used in Estate Planning

Maryland recognizes several types of estate-planning deeds for transferring ownership of property when the owner dies. Estate-planning deeds have names based on how they work structurally, rather than their warranties. Any of the Maryland estate-planning deeds described below can also be a quitclaim deed—depending on whether the deed transfers property with warranty of title.

Maryland Life Estate Deed

A traditional life estate deed gives one person (the life tenant) ownership of real estate for life (the life estate).24 A life estate deed names another person (the remainderman or remainder beneficiary) who receives the remainder—which is the right to own the property in the future when the life tenant dies.

A property owner forming an estate plan typically reserves the life estate and quitclaims the remainder to a family member. This arrangement lets the owner keep the property for life and transfer title outside probate at death. A criticism of life estate deeds is that the owner loses the right to sell the property outright or mortgage it after recording the deed. A life tenant can only transfer the life estate.

Maryland Life Estate Deed with Powers

A Maryland life estate deed with powers—commonly called an enhanced life estate deed or a lady bird deed—is a life estate deed modified to avoid restricting the owner’s lifetime rights. The owner reserves the life estate and names a remainder beneficiary—like with a traditional life estate deed. An owner creating a lady bird deed also reserves the power to fully or partially sell, transfer, or mortgage the property until the owner’s death.25

A Maryland life estate deed with powers is a valuable tool for estate planning but is more complex than most Maryland deeds. This is because more sophisticated language is necessary to secure the benefits of a traditional life estate without giving up potentially valuable rights in the property. Only a handful of states recognize enhanced life estate deeds.

Maryland Survivorship Deed

A Maryland survivorship deed form transfers property to joint owners who share a right of survivorship.26 When co-owners share a right of survivorship, the interest of the first co-owner to die automatically vests in the surviving co-owner. The result is that a deceased co-owner’s interest avoids probate, and the surviving co-owner then holds complete title.

Maryland recognizes two forms of co-ownership with a right of survivorship: joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety. A property owner creating a survivorship deed for an estate plan can quitclaim the property to the owner and another person (typically a family member) as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety.27 Co-owners can only be tenants by the entirety if they are a married couple.

Common Uses of Maryland Quitclaim Deed Forms

Maryland quitclaim deeds are a common choice for deeds that involve no consideration—or payment provided in exchange for the property. Property owners often use quitclaim deeds to re-title real estate without changing actual possession or to transfer property as a gift. A Maryland quitclaim deed can achieve any of the following goals:

  • Create a tenancy by the entirety between the owner and the owner’s spouse;28
  • Transfer legal title to real estate to a revocable living trust;29
  • Divide property co-owned by former spouses under a divorce decree; or
  • Transfer property to a family member as a gift.

How to Create a Maryland Quitclaim Deed

A Maryland quitclaim deed form needs to serve the parties intended purpose while following Maryland law. The parties to a Maryland deed can customize most transfer terms to fit their situation.30 For example, a quitclaim deed can reserve rights to the current owner or transfer less than complete title to the property.31 A deed can also specify a co-ownership form if there are two or more new owners named in the deed.32

Maryland Quitclaim Deed Requirements

Maryland law prescribes no specific language for quitclaim deeds. Most quitclaim deeds say that the current owner remises, releases, and quitclaims the property to the new owner. Warranty deeds and special warranty deeds, by comparison, typically say that the current owner grants the property.

A Maryland deed has no covenants of title unless covenant language is expressly in the deed.33 A quitclaim deed must therefore avoid using any of Maryland’s short-form covenants.34 A quitclaim deed should not have phrases like:

  • Warrants generally;
  • Warrants specially;
  • Quietly enjoy the land; or
  • Free and clear of all encumbrances.

A Maryland quitclaim deed need not disclaim covenants, but an express disclaimer of warranty or covenants of title helps avoid uncertainty.35

Maryland General Deed Requirements

Maryland quitclaim deeds must satisfy Maryland’s requirements for all deeds. The requirements deal with formatting, content, and signing. Among other things, Maryland requires all deeds to:

  • Use at least 8-point font printed in black ink on paper not larger than 8½ × 14 inches (legal size);36
  • State the actual consideration the new owner gives for the property;37
  • Include a legal description that identifies the property with reasonable certainty;38
  • Identify either a party to the deed or a Maryland attorney who is responsible for preparing the deed;39
  • Display the transferor’s notarized signature directly above or below the printed name.40

Our article on Maryland’s deed-recording requirements has more information on the prerequisites for a valid, recordable Maryland deed.

Selecting a Maryland Quitclaim Deed Form

Maryland quitclaim deed forms must be tailored precisely for Maryland law. State real estate rules vary considerably, so identical deeds may have vastly different legal effects in different states. A non-compliant quitclaim deed can result in an ineffective transfer or rejection by the clerk of the circuit court.

Need a quitclaim deed that meets Maryland recording requirements?

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

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  1. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 5-101.
  2. Welsh v. Welsh, 255 A.2d 368 (Md. 1969).
  3. See Magraw v. Dillow, 671 A.2d 485 (Md. 1996).
  4. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-115.
  5. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-105.
  6. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-106.
  7. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-107.
  8. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-108.
  9. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-109
  10. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-111.
  11. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-110.
  12. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-112.
  13. Welsh v. Welsh, 255 A.2d 368 (Md. 1969).
  14. Mayor of Ocean City v. Taber, 367 A.2d. 1233 (Md. 1977).
  15. See, e.g., S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-11; 33 Maine Rev. Stat. § 765.
  16. See Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023 (deeds have covenants of title “unless the conveyance expressly provides otherwise”).
  17. See, e.g., Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950); MA Gen L ch 183, Appendix (Statutory Form 4).
  18. Welsh v. Welsh, 255 A.2d 368 (Md. 1969).
  19. Mayor of Ocean City v. Taber, 367 A.2d. 1233 (Md. 1977).
  20. Welsh v. Welsh, 255 A.2d 368 (Md. 1969).
  21. See Md. Code, Real Prop. §§ 2-105; 2-106.
  22. See Magraw v. Dillow, 671 A.2d 485 (Md. 1996).
  23. Md. Code, Insurance § 1-101(qq).
  24. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 4-202(b).
  25. See Reeside v. Annex Bldg. Assn., 167 A.2d 72 (Md. 1933).
  26. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-117.
  27. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 4-108(a).
  28. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 4-108(a).
  29. See Md. Code, Real Prop. § 4-202(c) (statutory deed to trust).
  30. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 1-104.
  31. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 4-202(a).
  32. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-117.
  33. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 2-115.
  34. See Md. Code, Real Prop. §§ 2-1052-112.
  35. See Mayor of Ocean City v. Taber, 367 A.2d. 1233 (Md. 1977) (noting a quitclaim deed’s express declaration that it was “executed and delivered … without representations, warranties or covenants, either express or implied”). 
  36. Md. Code, Real Prop. §§ 3-601(a)(1); 3-104(e)(1).
  37. Md. Code, Tax-Prop. §§ 13-203; 12-103(a).
  38. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 4-101(a)(1).
  39. Md. Code, Real Prop. § 3-104(f)(1)(ii).
  40. Md. Code, Real Prop. §§ 4-101(a)(1); 3-104(d); 4-101(a)(1)