What Is a Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Form?
A property owner can transfer title to Mississippi real estate by signing and recording a written deed.1 A Mississippi quitclaim deed is a type of deed that transfers property with no warranty of title.2 The new owner receives whatever title the transferor holds in the property, but the transferor does not guarantee that he or she actually has a valid interest to transfer.3
What Is Warranty of Title?
Warranty of title—sometimes called covenants of title or covenants of warranty—is a legally enforceable guarantee that property owners make when signing some types of deeds. A property owner who warrants a Mississippi property’s title makes five implicit promises to the new owner:
- The current owner holds good title to the property.
- The current owner has the legal right to transfer the property.
- The property is free of liens and other adverse claims unless specifically excluded in the deed.
- The new owner’s possession will not be disturbed by any third-party claims on the property.
- The current owner will stand behind the transferred title and take responsibility for any conflicting claims.4
Warranty of title protects the new owner against problems with the property’s title—such as outstanding liens, boundary disputes, or an unclear chain of title. The new owner can sue the prior owner for breach of warranty if a title issue arises. For example, a buyer can recover the purchase price plus interest from the seller if a deed with warranty of title fails to transfer valid ownership of the property.5
Warranty of Title and Mississippi Quitclaim Deeds
A Mississippi quitclaim deed transfers property with no warranty of title.6 The current owner does not guarantee good, clear title and is not responsible under the deed if title issues arise. A transferee who receives a Mississippi quitclaim deed takes title effectively as is and bears the risk of any problems arising with the property’s title.
Other Names for a Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Form
Mississippi courts and lawyers typically call a deed that provides no warranty of title a quitclaim deed or just a quitclaim. Other names for quitclaim deeds used in Mississippi include:
- Quit claim deed;
- Quitclaim and release deed;
- Deed of quitclaim and release; and
- Release deed.7
Both quitclaim deed and release deed are apt names, as Mississippi quitclaim deeds often state that the current owner “quitclaims and releases” the property to the new owner. Quitclaim deed is the much more common term, though.
Some states have laws disfavoring quitclaim deeds. Deeds transferring property with no warranty in those states are usually titled Deed without Warranty or No-Warranty Deed. The alternate names help avoid chain-of-title issues that can make purchasing title insurance difficult. Mississippi law expressly recognizes quitclaim deeds, so deeds without warranty and no-warranty deeds are unnecessary in Mississippi.8
How Do Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
A quitclaim deed can transfer the same ownership interest the signer could transfer with other types of deeds.9 The difference is that the new owner named in a quitclaim deed receives whatever interest the signer has with no assurance of its validity. If the person who signs the deed has no legal interest in the property, the transferee receives nothing and cannot sue the transferor for breach of warranty.10 The new owner therefore assumes the risk of title problems.
Mississippi law recognizes other types of deeds that transfer real estate with complete or partial warranty of title—keeping some or all risk of title problems with the current owner signing the deed.
Mississippi Quitclaim Deeds vs. Warranty Deeds
A Mississippi warranty deed form—sometimes called a general warranty deed—conveys title to real estate with a complete warranty.11 The current owner guarantees a good, clear title—subject only to limitations expressly written in the deed. A Mississippi deed with the word warrant implicitly includes the five covenants of title described above unless the warranty is limited by the deed.
General warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds are opposites in terms of risk allocation. The new owner bears all risk of title problems under a quitclaim deed, but the current owner retains all the risk under a warranty deed.
Mississippi Quitclaim Deeds vs. Special Warranty Deeds
A Mississippi special warranty deed form conveys real estate with warranty of title subject to an important limitation: the warranty extends only to title problems arising during the current owner’s ownership period.12 In other words, title problems that arose before the current owner acquired the property are not covered by a special warranty deed’s warranty.
A Mississippi deed that states that the current owner “warrants specially” the property’s title comes with the current owner’s promise to take responsibility for any title problems from the current owner’s ownership period. The current owner and new owner therefore share the risk of title problems—each bears some of the risk depending on when a problem arose.
Title Insurance and Mississippi Quitclaim Deeds
Title insurance is an insurance contract that protects against financial loss caused by problems with a property’s title.13 A title insurer promises that if a title problem is discovered, the insurer will compensate the policy’s beneficiary for any financial loss that results. Title insurance policies typically protect buyers, sellers, or mortgage lenders.
A quitclaim deed alone does not protect the new property owner against title problems. The prior owner did not warrant the property’s title, so the new owner bears the risk of potential issues. Title insurance can—in exchange for a one-time, upfront premium—reduce the owner’s financial risk by shifting it to an insurance company.
Quitclaim Deeds and Other Mississippi Deeds Used in Estate Planning
Certain types of deeds are particularly useful in estate planning because they allow real estate to avoid probate when the owner dies. Mississippi estate planning deeds have names based on the deed’s function—rather than the warranty of title they provide.
- Transfer-on-death deed. A Mississippi transfer-on-death deed—often called a TOD deed—names a beneficiary who will take title to the real estate automatically upon the owner’s death.14 TOD deeds have the advantage of not limiting the owner’s rights in the property for the rest of the owner’s life.15 The owner records a TOD deed during life and can amend or revoke the deed at any point until death.16
- Life estate deed. A Mississippi life estate deed grants real estate to one person (the life tenant) for life and the remainder interest to one or more other persons.17 A property owner typically reserves the life estate to him- or herself and gives the remainder interest to the owner’s child or other heir. During the owner’s life, the remainder interest holder has an enforceable future right to the property. The life estate ends when the life tenant dies—at which point the remainder interest holder takes possession of the property outside probate. A life tenant can sell complete ownership of the property only if the remainder interest holder consents to the transfer.18
- Survivorship deed. A survivorship deed is a deed that transfers property to two or more co-owners using a form of co-ownership with a right of survivorship. When co-owners have a right of survivorship, a surviving owner automatically receives a deceased co-owner’s share. The real estate vests fully in the surviving owner and is never part of the deceased co-owner’s probate estate.19 Survivorship Deed is not a commonly used title in Mississippi. Deeds creating a right of survivorship in Mississippi real estate are typically titled Quitclaim Deed, Warranty Deed, or Special Warranty Deed—depending on the warranty of title—and designate the co-owners as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenants by the entirety.
Common Uses of Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Forms
Property owners primarily use quitclaim deeds for transactions involving nominal or no consideration—or value provided in exchange for the property. Quitclaim deeds are useful when changing how real estate is titled without affecting actual possession or when transferring property to family members. A Mississippi property owner might use a quitclaim deed for any of the following purposes:
- Create a right of survivorship. An owner can create a right of survivorship by recording a deed in favor of the owner and another person as joint tenants with right of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety (if the other person is the owner’s spouse).20
- Transfer property to a trust. An owner can use a quitclaim deed to transfer property to a living trust formed as part of the owner’s estate plan.21
- Release a property interest to a former spouse. A co-owner can quitclaim his or her part interest in co-owned real estate to a former spouse in connection with divorce proceedings.
- Create a life estate. A quitclaim deed can also be a life estate deed—with the owner reserving a life estate to him- or herself and granting the remainder interest to a family member.22
How to Create a Mississippi Quitclaim Deed
A Mississippi quitclaim deed must:
- Meet Mississippi’s general requirements for deeds;
- Identify the deed as a quitclaim deed; and
- Accurately reflect the parties’ intended transfer terms.
A Mississippi quitclaim deed transfers the current owner’s complete interest in the real estate unless the deed specifies a lesser interest.23
Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Requirements
A Mississippi quitclaim deed must be recognizable as a quitclaim deed and must not include any language suggesting that the current owner warrants the property’s title. Quitclaim deeds usually have the title Quitclaim Deed at the top of the first page and state that the owner “quitclaims and releases” the property to the new owner.24 Mississippi law assumes a deed is a quitclaim if it includes no express warranty and no language giving rise to an implied warranty.25
Mississippi General Deed Requirements
Mississippi’s real estate laws establish requirements for the formatting and content of all deeds. Among other things, all Mississippi deeds must:
- Use white paper of at least 20-pound weight;26
- Use a font size of at least 10 points;27
- Include an accurate legal description and indexing instruction for the property;28 and
- Identify the individual who prepared the deed.29
Selecting a Mississippi Quitclaim Deed Form
Real estate rules are set primarily at the state level. Individual states can have significant differences in their requirements for deeds. Mississippi quitclaim deeds must comply with Mississippi law and follow any relevant conventions. A quitclaim deed form designed for use in a different state may be rejected for recording, fail to effectively convey Mississippi real estate, or lead to future problems with the property’s chain of title.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-61.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-37.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-39.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-33.
- Allen v. Miller, 99 Miss. 75, 54 So. 731 (Miss. 1910).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-37.
- See Miss. Code § 89-1-39.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-37.
- Chapman v. Sims, 53 Miss. 154 (Miss. 1876).
- Perkins v. White, 43 So. 2d 897 (Miss. 1950).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-33.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-35.
- See Miss. Code § 83-15-1.
- Miss. Code § 91-27-9.
- Miss. Code § 91-27-23.
- Miss. Code § 91-27-21.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-9.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-17.
- See Miss. Code § 89-5-8(1).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-7.
- See Miss. Code § 91-8-407(c)(3).
- Miss. Code § 89-1-9.
- Miss. Code § 89-1-5.
- See Miss. Code §§ 89-1-39; 89-5-24(2)(c).
- See Miss. Code §§ 89-1-37; 89-1-41.
- Miss. Code § 89-5-24(1)(d).
- Miss. Code § 89-5-24(1)(b).
- Miss. Code §§ 89-5-24(2)(e); 89-5-33(3).
- Miss. Code § 89-5-24(2)(a).