What Is a Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Form?
A Minnesota quitclaim deed—also called a deed of quitclaim and release—is a deed that transfers Minnesota real estate with no warranty of title. The person who signs a quitclaim deed transfers whatever interest he or she has in the property but makes no promises about the status of the property’s title.1 The signer does not guarantee that the title is lien-free or that the deed will transfer valid ownership of the property.
Quitclaim deeds are a popular choice when transferring real estate for no consideration—which means the new owner provides no value in exchange for the property.
What Is Warranty of Title?
Warranty of title is the current owner’s guarantee that a deed transfers good, clear title to real estate. A property owner who provides warranty of title makes several legally enforceable promises—called covenants of title—to the person receiving the property (the deed’s grantee). Covenants of title in Minnesota include promises that:
- The current owner holds complete, lawful title to the property.
- The current owner has the right to transfer the property.
- The property is free from liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances—unless specifically excluded in the deed.
- The new owner will enjoy “quiet and peaceable possession” of the property—that is, no other person will assert a superior claim to possess the property.
- The current owner will defend the transferred title against conflicting claims.2
A property owner who gives a warranty of title agrees to bear the risk of unknown problems with the property’s title. A new owner who suffers financial loss due to title problems can recover monetary damages from the prior owner.3 For example, the prior owner is responsible for the cost of removing any outstanding liens affecting the property’s title.
Warranty of Title and Minnesota Quitclaim Deeds
Minnesota quitclaim deeds provide no warranty of title. A property owner who signs a quitclaim deed makes no representations about the status of the property’s title. The owner does not guarantee a clear title or that the owner legitimately owns the property.
The new owner taking title through a quitclaim deed assumes all risk of title problems—also called title defects. Unpaid tax liens, boundary disputes, and chain-of-title issues—for example—are the new owner’s responsibility. If another person has a superior claim on the property, the new owner cannot sue the prior owner for breach of warranty because a quitclaim deed provides no warranty.
A quitclaim deed does not imply that there actually are problems with the property’s title. The current owner is simply making no promises one way or the other.
Other Names for a Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Form
Minnesota lawyers and courts most commonly use quitclaim deed as the name for a deed without warranty of title. Minnesota’s statutory form also uses quitclaim deed, and other code sections use the more formal-sounding deed of quitclaim and release.4 Quit claim deed is also acceptable, as is release deed. A quickclaim deed, though, is not a legitimate legal document.
The word quitclaim can be a verb that means transferring real estate with no warranty. Minnesota quitclaim deeds often state that the current owner “conveys and quitclaims” the property to the new owner.5
Lawyers in some states use deeds without warranty or no-warranty deeds to convey real estate with no warranty of title. This is due to state-specific statutes that make quitclaim deeds less effective.6 Texas deeds, for example, automatically include implied warranties unless a deed specifically says there is no warranty. Minnesota deeds have no implied covenants or warranties unless a deed relies on the statutory warranty deed form.7
How Do Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
Minnesota recognizes three types of deeds a property owner can use to transfer title during the owner’s life. The main difference is the warranty of title (or absence of warranty) each deed offers. Minnesota quitclaim deeds include no warranty and therefore place all risk of title problems on the new owner. The other two options—warranty deeds and limited warranty deeds—allow the current owner to retain some or all of the risk.
Minnesota Warranty Deed Form
A Minnesota warranty deed transfers ownership of property with complete warranty of title.8 The current owner guarantees a good, clear title and agrees to take responsibility for any title problems that arise (unless specifically excluded in the deed). The warranty is complete because it extends throughout the property’s entire history—or chain of title. The risk of title problems therefore rests solely with the current owner.
The new owner can sue the current owner for breach of warranty if title problems cause the new owner to incur financial loss or lose possession of the property.9
Minnesota Limited Warranty Deed Form
A Minnesota limited warranty deed transfers real estate with a partial warranty. The current owner guarantees a good, clear title, but the limited warranty covers only issues that arose while the current owner held title. The current owner agrees to take responsibility for title problems—but only problems derived from the current owner’s ownership period. Issues rooted earlier in the property’s chain of title are outside the limited warranty’s scope.
Limited warranty deeds—also called special warranty deeds—allow the parties to share the risk of unknown title problems.10 The new owner receives greater assurance of a good title than with a quitclaim deed, but less assurance than with a warranty deed.
Title Insurance and Minnesota Quitclaim Deeds
Title insurance is a financial product that protects against financial loss resulting from unknown problems with a property’s title. An insurance company that issues a title insurance policy charges a single, up-front premium. In return, the insurer agrees to compensate the insured person if title problems arise.
Title insurance policies protect against—among other things—unknown liens or mortgages, defects in earlier deeds, and conflicting claims that make the property less valuable or marketable.11 A property owner, former owner, or interested third party—often a mortgage lender—can purchase a title policy to shift long-term financial risk to the insurance company.
A property owner who takes title through a quitclaim deed receives no warranty and therefore bears all risk of title problems. Purchasing title insurance can be a good way to reduce exposure to potential risk. Title insurers also typically arrange for a title examination before issuing a policy—which substantially increases the likelihood of discovering title problems before closing.
Quitclaim Deeds and Other Minnesota Deeds Used in Estate Planning
Warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds are named for their warranty of title or lack of warranty. In both cases, the deeds make a present transfer of property—effective once the deed is signed and recorded.12 Minnesota also recognizes deed forms that transfer property only at the owner’s death. TOD deeds and life estate deeds are useful for estate planning because both allow Minnesota real estate to avoid probate.
- Transfer-on-death deed. A Minnesota transfer-on-death deed form (or TOD deed) names a beneficiary to automatically take title to Minnesota real estate upon the owner’s death.13 While the property owner remains living, he or she retains the right to revoke the TOD deed, record an amended TOD deed, or transfer the property to another person.14 When the owner dies, the beneficiary records an affidavit of survivorship in the land records to confirm the transfer without going through probate.15
- Life estate deed. A Minnesota life estate deed typically reserves a lifetime ownership interest—or life estate—to the property owner.16 A life estate deed also grants a future interest—or remainder—that gives another person ownership rights after the owner’s death.17 While the owner remains living, the remainder interest holder has a vested right to future possession of the property. The current owner can only transfer the life estate—not complete ownership—absent the remainder interest holder’s consent.
Common Uses of Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Forms
Quitclaim deeds are a popular choice when the owner is transferring Minnesota real estate to a family member as a gift or when retitling property without changing actual possession. A Minnesota real estate transfer that involves payment or other consideration from the new owner is more likely to use a deed that gives warranty of title.
An owner might choose a quitclaim deed for any of the following purposes:
- Joint tenancy. An owner can record a quitclaim deed to the owner and another person to create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship.18
- Deed to trust. An owner can use a quitclaim deed to transfer title to a living trust.19
- Divorce. Former spouses can record a quitclaim deed transferring title to one of the former spouses under the terms of a divorce decree.20
- Deed of distribution. The personal representative of a deceased owner’s estate might transfer title to the deceased owner’s heir using a quitclaim deed (called a deed of distribution) in connection with court-supervised probate proceedings.21
How to Create a Minnesota Quitclaim Deed
A Minnesota quitclaim deed must satisfy Minnesota’s general requirements for deeds and be worded to provide no warranty of title. The deed must also include any terms necessary to reflect the parties’ intent. For example, Minnesota law assumes that a quitclaim deed transfers the current owner’s entire ownership interest as of the date of the deed.22 A quitclaim deed may, though, expressly limit the transferred interest. A deed to multiple new owners should identify the co-ownership form—tenancy in common or joint tenancy—the new owners will use.
Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Requirements
The Minnesota Legislature has adopted suggested statutory language for quitclaim deeds.23 The owner signing the deed “conveys and quitclaims” the property to the new owner. Quitclaim deeds often include a clause stating that the current owner intends to transfer the property with no express or implied warranty of title—though a disclaimer is not required for an effective quitclaim deed.
Minnesota General Deed Requirements
All recorded Minnesota deeds must conform to the state’s formatting standards for recorded documents. Deeds must, for instance, use an 8-point font or larger and include a 3-inch top margin on the first page.24
Minnesota deeds must also contain:
- A document title;
- The drafter’s name and address;
- The transaction details—such as the party names and a property description; and
- The amount of deed tax owed or a statement that the deed is exempt.25
Selecting a Minnesota Quitclaim Deed Form
Minnesota quitclaim deed forms must be tailored to Minnesota law. Real estate laws vary between states, so a quitclaim deed that complies with another state’s laws could be invalid in Minnesota. A deed that does not satisfy Minnesota law may be refused by the county recorder or lead to a future defect in the property’s title.
- MN Stat. § 507.07.
- MN Stat. § 507.07.
- MN Stat. § 507.21.
- MN Stat. §§ 507.06; 507.07.
- See MN Stat. § 507.07.
- See, e.g., Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023.
- MN Stat. § 507.16.
- MN Stat. § 507.07.
- MN Stat. § 507.21.
- See Efta v. Swanson, 109 Minn. 94 (Minn. 1909).
- MN Stat. § 68A.0401(2).
- MN Stat. § 507.34.
- MN Stat. § 507.071.2.
- MN Stat. § 507.071.10(b).
- MN Stat. § 507.071.20.
- MN Stat. § 500.01.
- MN Stat. § 500.11.
- MN Stat. § 500.19.4.
- See MN Stat. § 507.421.
- See MN Stat. § 500.19.5.
- See, e.g., MN Stat. § 507.42.
- MN Stat. § 507.06.
- MN Stat. § 507.07.
- MN Stat. §§ 507.093(2) and (4).
- MN Stat. §§ 507.093(5); 507.07; 287.241.1.