Montana Quitclaim Deed Form

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What Is a Montana Quitclaim Deed Form?

A deed is a written document transferring a real estate interest from the current owner (the deed’s grantor) to a new owner (the grantee).1 Montana law recognizes several types of deeds a property owner can use to transfer property. A Montana quitclaim deed is a type of deed that transfers the owner’s interest with no warranty of title.

The person who signs a quitclaim deed transfers to the new owner all interests the signer holds in the property as of the date of the deed.2 A quitclaim deed does not guarantee that the signer has a clear title or actually owns the property. A transferee who receives an invalid or disputed title through a quitclaim deed cannot bring a breach of warranty claim against the deed’s signer because the signer did not warrant the property’s title.

What Is Warranty of Title?

Warranty of title—sometimes called covenants of title or covenants of warranty—is a guarantee the transferring owner gives when signing some deeds. A Montana deed with a complete warranty of title includes five promises—or covenants—from the current owner:

  1. The current owner holds good title.
  2. The new owner’s possession of the property will not be disturbed by adverse ownership claims.
  3. The property is not subject to undisclosed liens, mortgages, or unpaid assessments.
  4. The current owner stands behind the title and will take responsibility for title problems.
  5. The current owner will sign any documents and take any future actions necessary to confirm the new owner’s title to the property.3

A deed transferring real estate with warranty of title protects the new owner by keeping the risk of unknown title problems with the prior owner. If a title problem arises, the new owner can sue the prior owner for breach of warranty to recover financial losses caused by the problem.4

Warranty of title protects against potential title problems—or title defects—such as:

  • Tax liens, mechanic’s liens, or mortgages;
  • Boundary disputes;
  • A flawed chain of title negatively affecting the property’s value or marketability; or
  • A third-party claim of superior title to the property.5

Warranty of Title and Montana Quitclaim Deeds

A Montana quitclaim deed provides no warranty of title. The new owner receives whatever lawful interest the current owner has in the property without guaranteeing the interest’s status or validity. The current owner does not promise that the title is clear or that he or she has a legitimate interest to transfer. A quitclaim deed simply gives the new owner any rights in the real estate the current owner can legally transfer when signing the deed.6

Other Names for a Montana Quitclaim Deed Form

Montana courts and lawyers call a deed transferring property with no warranty a quitclaim deed—or sometimes a deed of quitclaim or just a quitclaim. The term release deed means essentially the same thing.7 A deed titled Release Deed typically releases the signer’s interest to another interested person—like when a co-owner turns over full ownership to the other co-owner.

Quitclaim deed may be alternatively written as quit claim deed or quit-claim deed—both of which are less common but still correct. Quickclaim deed is a frequent error and is not an actual legal term.

When used as a verb, quitclaim means to transfer a property interest with no warranty—as in “John is quitclaiming the property to June.” Montana quitclaim deeds often state that the signer “remises and quitclaims” the property to the new owner.

No-warranty deed and deed without warranty are alternate names for deeds with the same function as quitclaim deeds. They are used in states where lawyers and title companies avoid deeds called quitclaim deeds due to quirks of state law. Neither term is common in Montana.

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

A quitclaim deed can convey the same property interest as other Montana deed types but does so without guaranteeing the transferred title’s status or validity. A quitclaim deed’s transferee takes the interest the signer owns in the condition it happens to be. If the signer holds good, clear title, the transferee receives good, clear title. The transferee receives nothing if the signer has no legal interest in the property.8

A transferee who accepts a quitclaim deed bears the risk of problems with the property’s title. The transferee cannot sue the transferor for breach of warranty if title problems arise. Other Montana deeds transfer property with complete or partial warranty of title—keeping all or some title risk with the person signing the deed.

Montana Warranty Deed Form

A Montana warranty deed form transfers real estate with complete warranty of title. Warranty deeds give new owners the greatest protection of Montana’s deed forms—placing all risk of title problems on the current owner unless a condition is expressly excluded. The current owner makes the five covenants listed above and guarantees the new owner undisputed ownership with no undisclosed title problems.9

A Montana warranty deed’s guarantee applies to title problems rooted at any point in the property’s chain of title. Warranty deeds are sometimes called general warranty deeds because the warranty’s coverage is not limited based on when an issue arose.

Montana Special Warranty Deed Form

A Montana special warranty deed form transfers real estate with limited warranty of title. Special warranty deeds provide new owners more protection than quitclaim deeds but less than general warranty deeds. An owner who signs a Montana special warranty deed makes two implied covenants to the new owner:

  1. The current owner has not already transferred the property to someone else.
  2. The property is free of liens, mortgages, assessments, or other encumbrances caused by anything the current owner did or failed to do.10

A Montana special warranty deed guarantees that the property has no title issues that arose while the current owner held title. The warranty does not cover problems from before the current owner took title. The current owner and new owner therefore share the risk of title problems—depending on when an issue arose.

Title Insurance and Montana Quitclaim Deeds

A new owner acquiring Montana real estate through a quitclaim deed carries the risk burden for all unknown issues with the property’s title. A property owner can reduce the chance of title-related financial loss by buying title insurance for the property. A title insurance policy is a contract under which the insurer—in return for an up-front, lump-sum premium—agrees to compensate the owner (or other insured person) for financial loss caused by covered title problems.11

Title insurance policies typically cover title issues that existed but had not been discovered when the policy was issued. Title policies protect against problems like:

  • Unpaid liens;
  • An unclear chain of title due to an earlier defective deed;
  • Reduced marketability caused by an error in an earlier owner’s estate; and
  • Adverse claims derived from a conflicting deed.

Quitclaim Deeds and Other Montana Deeds Used in Estate Planning

Montana estate-planning deeds let owners keep the property for life and decide in advance who will receive the property when the owner dies. An advantage estate-planning deeds offer over wills is that estate-planning deeds transfer ownership outside of probate. The successor named in the deed automatically takes title when the owner dies. The successor needs only to record a survivorship affidavit to confirm the title transfer.12

Montana recognizes three types of deeds commonly used in estate planning:

  1. Transfer-on-death deed. A Montana transfer-on-death deed—or TOD deed—passes title to a beneficiary named in the deed effective at the owner’s death.13 The owner retains all rights in the property—including the right to sell the property or revoke the TOD deed—while the owner is still living.14
  2. Life estate deed. A Montana life estate deed keeps a lifetime ownership interest—called a life estate—with the current owner.15 A life estate deed also transfers the right to future possession—called the remainder—to another person named in the deed.16 After recording a life estate deed, the owner can transfer only the life estate—not complete ownership—because the remainder interest holder has a vested right to future possession.17
  3. Survivorship deed. A survivorship deed names two or more co-owners as joint tenants with right of survivorship.18 If co-owners have a right of survivorship, a deceased co-owner’s interest avoids probate. The interest instead automatically vests in the surviving co-owner. Montana survivorship deeds created for estate plans typically transfer property to the owner and the owner’s intended beneficiary—usually the owner’s spouse or child—and declare a right of survivorship.19 The name survivorship deed is used informally in Montana. Deeds creating rights of survivorship are typically titled Quitclaim Deed, Warranty Deed, or Special Warranty Deed—depending on the warranty provided (if any).

Common Uses of Montana Quitclaim Deed Forms

Montana quitclaim deeds are well suited to transactions involving little or no consideration—or value given in exchange for the property. Property owners often use deeds without consideration to transfer property to a family member as a gift or to modify how a property is titled without changing possession. A transferor might also use a quitclaim deed to release a disputed interest or property rights the transferor is not sure he or she actually owns.20

A Montana quitclaim deed form is usually appropriate for the following purposes (among others):

  • Create a joint tenancy. A sole owner can create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship by recording a Montana quitclaim deed that names the current property owner and another person as co-owners.21
  • Transfer property to a trust. A property owner can record a quitclaim deed to transfer property to a revocable living trust the owner created to bypass probate.22
  • Reserve a life estate. A property owner can use a quitclaim deed to reserve a life estate in the property and grant the remainder interest in the property to the owner’s children.23
  • Comply with a divorce order. Former spouses can record a quitclaim deed to transfer title to only one spouse under the terms of a divorce decree.
  • Transfer property to a business. A property owner can record a quitclaim deed to transfer ownership to a business entity—such as a partnership, LLC, or corporation—that the property owner owns or controls.24

How to Create a Montana Quitclaim Deed

Montana law establishes certain legal requirements that all deeds must satisfy. A Montana quitclaim deed must meet the requirements for all deeds and be identifiable as a quitclaim deed—not a warranty deed or special warranty deed.

Montana Quitclaim Deed Requirements

Quitclaim deeds must omit language suggesting that the current owner is providing warranty of title. Montana law implies certain covenants of title in deeds that use the word grant.25 To avoid the implied warranty, quitclaim deeds typically state that the owner “remises and quitclaims”or just “quitclaims”—the property to the new owner.

Montana law does not require quitclaim deeds to disclaim covenants or warranty of title. However, a clause stating that the current owner transfers the property with no express or implied warranty of title avoids ambiguity.

Montana General Deed Requirements

All Montana deeds must meet the state’s formatting and signing standards and contain all required information. A Montana quitclaim deed must, for example:

  • Be printed in black or blue ink on white paper that is either 8½ × 11 inches (letter size) or 8½ × 14 inches (legal size);26
  • Include a 3-inch or larger top margin on the deed’s first page;27
  • Identify on the first page the current owner’s name and the new owner’s name and address;28
  • Include a valid legal description of the property;29 and
  • Bear the owner’s original, notarized signature and the owner’s spouse’s signature if the property is a married person’s homestead.30

Selecting a Montana Quitclaim Deed Form

A Montana quitclaim deed form must be designed to comply with Montana law. Real estate statutes differ between states, and a deed that works well in another state might be ineffective in Montana. A non-compliant deed may be ineligible for recording or result in future problems with the property’s title.

Need a quitclaim deed that meets Montana recording requirements?

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

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  1. See Mont. Code § 70-20-101.
  2. Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  3. Mont. Code § 30-11-109.
  4. See Mont. Code § 70-20-304.
  5. See, e.g., Mont. Code §§ 33-25-105(12); 70-20-304.
  6. Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  7. Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  8. See Blaine Bank of Montana v. Haugen, 816 P.2d 447 (Mont. 1991).
  9. Mont. Code § 30-11-109.
  10. Mont. Code § 70-20-304.
  11. Mont. Code § 33-25-105(12).
  12. Mont. Code §§ 72-16-503; 7-4-2613(c).
  13. Mont. Code § 72-6-404.
  14. Mont. Code § 72-6-411.
  15. Mont. Code § 70-15-202(2).
  16. Mont. Code § 70-15-211.
  17. Mont. Code § 70-20-313.
  18. Mont. Code § 70-20-105.
  19. Mont. Code § 70-20-310.
  20. Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  21. Mont. Code § 70-20-310.
  22. See Mont. Code § 70-21-307.
  23. Mont. Code § 70-15-202(2).
  24. See, e.g., Mont. Code § 70-1-312 (authorizing ownership of Montana real estate by a partnership).
  25. Mont. Code § 70-20-304.
  26. Mont. Code § 7-4-2636(1)(a).
  27. Mont. Code § 7-4-2636(1)(e)(i).
  28. Mont. Code §§ 7-4-2636(1)(b); 7-4-2618.
  29. Mont. Code §§ 7-4-2636(1)(c); 70-20-201.
  30. Mont. Code §§ 70-21-203(1) and (2); 70-32-301.