How a Michigan Quitclaim Deed Form Works
A Michigan quitclaim deed form is used to transfer real estate when the person transferring the real estate (current owner) does not want to provide a warranty of title to the person receiving the real estate (new owner). A quitclaim deed conveys whatever interest the current owner owns, but makes no promises about whether the current owner has clear title to the property.
Other Names for Michigan Quitclaim Deeds
Michigan quitclaim deeds are sometimes called quit claim deeds, and the terms quitclaim and quit claim are interchangeable. Laypeople sometimes call quitclaim deeds quick claim deeds, but that name is incorrect.
In other states—like Texas—a deed without warranty (also known as a no warranty deed) is often used as an alternative to a quitclaim deed. Both a quitclaim deed and a deed without warranty convey property without a warranty of title, but title insurers in other states sometimes disfavor quitclaim deeds. This is not a problem in Michigan, though, and quitclaim deeds are often used to transfer Michigan property.
Relationship of Michigan Quitclaim Deed Form to Warranty of Title
Key Term: Warranty of Title. Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys. Title issues often require legal action to fix and can decrease the value of real estate. If the property has no title issues, it is said to have clear title. A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the transferor to the transferee that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the transferee can sue the transferor over any title issues.
A Michigan quitclaim deed form provides no warranty of title. That means that the new owner has no legal right to sue the prior owner if there is a problem with the title to the property. The new owner simply takes whatever title that the prior owner has.
Title problems can arise for several reasons. For example, the previous owner may have already transferred or mortgaged the property without disclosure to the new owner. Or there may be a deceased owner in the chain of title whose estate has not gone through probate. Or the owner may have tax liabilities that result in a tax lien against the property. These issues usually cannot be resolved without legal action.
A person that receives property by quitclaim deed assumes the risk associated with any title issues. Even if it turns out that the prior owner did not own the property at all, the new owner cannot sue the previous owner.
Comparison of Michigan Quitclaim Deeds to Other Forms of Michigan Deeds
A Michigan quitclaim deed form differs from other types of deeds that provide a warranty of title. A covenant deed provides a guarantee of title that is limited to the time that the prior owner owned the property, but not before. A warranty deed provides a full warranty that covers any title issues, including those that arose before the prior owner owned the property. Unlike both covenant deeds and warranty deeds, Michigan quitclaim deeds provide no warranty of title.
Example: Ashley sells a parcel of real estate to Brett and conveys the property by quitclaim deed. Ashley later learns that Brett sold the property to someone else a year before he sold the property to Ashley. Had Brett conveyed the property using either a covenant deed form or a warranty deed form, Ashley could have sued Brett for breaching the warranty of title. But because Brett used a quitclaim deed form, Ashley has no legal rights against Brett relating to the warranty of title.
The term quitclaim deed relates specifically to the warranty of title. There are other forms of deeds with names that do not refer to the warranty of title. In Michigan, for example, traditional life estate deeds and lady bird deeds are used to avoid probate. Because these names don’t relate to the warranty of title, they can apply to quitclaim deeds. In other words, a deed may be both a quitclaim deed and a life estate deed.
Common Uses of Quitclaim Deeds
A Michigan quitclaim deed form is often used to transfer real estate when the owner does not want to make any promises about the title to the property. This is usually the case if the property is being transferred without consideration (if the transfer is a gift). Since the person signing the deed isn’t receiving anything in return, he or she may not want to open the door to legal liability if there is an unknown title problem.
Quitclaim deeds are also used to create deeds for estate planning purposes—including life estate deeds and lady bird deeds. They may also be used to remove an ex-spouse from title to real estate following a divorce.
How to Create a Michigan Quitclaim Deed
Michigan law authorizes Michigan quitclaim deed forms. Michigan Consolidated Statutes Section 565.152 provides:
Any conveyance of lands worded in substance as follows: “A.B. quit claims to C.D. (here describe the premises) for the sum of (here insert the consideration),” the said conveyance, being duly signed, sealed, and acknowledged by the grantor, shall be deemed to be a good and sufficient conveyance in quit claim to the grantee, his heirs, and assigns.
As with most other statutory authorizations, this language falls far short of the requirements for a Michigan quitclaim deed. It does not meet Michigan recording requirements or include the other elements of a valid deed—including a correct legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title, font size and page format requirements, and signature and notarization requirements. But it provides a starting point by specifically authorizing the deed and giving some of the language (“quit claims”) to include.
When preparing a Michigan quitclaim deed, it is important to get the language right. Failure to use the correct language can produce unexpected consequences. The deeds prepared by our Deed Generator were designed by attorneys to meet the requirements of Michigan law.