New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Form

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What is a New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Form?

A New Jersey quitclaim deed form transfers the current owner’s interest in real estate with no warranty or covenants of title.1 The deed passes to the new owner whatever title the current owner holds.2 The current owner does not guarantee a clear title or that the new owner will receive actual ownership of the property.

A New Jersey quitclaim deed form typically transfers real estate for no consideration—which means the new owner provides nothing in exchange for the real estate. A quitclaim deed might, for example, transfer property to a family member or change how property is titled without affecting possession.

What Is Warranty of Title?

Warranty of title is a guarantee that comes with some deeds. The transferor who provides the warranty promises that the new owner will receive valid title to the property subject to no undisclosed third-party claims.3 The warranty gives the new owner the legal right to sue the transferor for breach of warranty if title issues arise later.

New Jersey deeds that transfer property with warranty of title include one or more covenants of title—also called covenants of warranty—from the current owner.4 A covenant of title is a legal promise about the status of a transferred property’s title. Different types of deeds have different covenants of title. A deed’s covenants determine the strength of the warranty it provides.

A New Jersey deed that gives complete warranty of title includes the following covenants:

  • The current owner holds complete legal title to the property and has the right to transfer the title to the new owner.5
  • No undisclosed encumbrances—such as liens, mortgages, assessments, or judgments—impair the property’s title.6
  • The new owner’s possession of the property will not be disturbed by legal claims of third parties.7
  • The current owner will, at the new owner’s request, take any actions needed to confirm the new owner’s title.8

Warranty of Title and New Jersey Quitclaim Deeds

New Jersey quitclaim deeds include no covenants of title and therefore provide no warranty.9 The new owner takes title effectively as-is. If the current owner has complete, unblemished ownership, the new owner receives a valid and clear title. If there are liens against the property, the new owner receives the property subject to the liens.

An owner who takes title under a quitclaim deed cannot sue for breach of warranty or breach of covenant because the deed includes no covenants and provides no warranty. The new owner therefore bears all risk of title problems—which could include tax liens, unpaid assessments, an unclear chain of title, and a variety of other issues.

Other Names for a New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Form

New Jersey courts and lawyers sometimes write quitclaim deed as quit claim deed or quit-claim deed—either of which is acceptable. Quitclaim deeds are sometimes called simply quitclaims, and the word quitclaim can also act as a verb. A deed might say that the current owner “remises, releases, and forever quitclaims” the owner’s interest to a new owner.10

The word quickclaim, though, is not a real legal term. A quickclaim deed is not a legitimate document, and a property owner cannot quickclaim a real estate interest to another person.

In New Jersey, a bargain-and-sale deed without covenants has the same practical effect as a quitclaim deed.11 However, New Jersey bargain-and-sale deeds usually include at least one covenant of title.

Other states use the following terms for deeds that convey property with no warranty or covenants of title:

  • Quitclaim deed without covenant;12
  • Release deed;13
  • No-warranty deed or non-warranty deed;
  • Deed without warranty.14

How Do New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?

A New Jersey quitclaim deed is capable of transferring property ownership as effectively as other deeds.15 It just does so with no guarantee, and the new owner assumes the risk of problems with the property’s title. New Jersey law recognizes other deed forms that include covenants of title that allow the current owner to bear some or all of the risk.

New Jersey Bargain-and-Sale Deed with Covenant

A New Jersey bargain-and-sale deed with covenant form includes a covenant as to grantor’s acts. The covenant guarantees that the current owner has done nothing and signed nothing—and has not knowingly allowed anyone else to do or sign anything—to alter or impair the property’s title.16 The current owner bears the risk of title issues that he or she created or allowed. The new owner bears the risk for anything else.

Bargain-and-sale deeds with covenant are a common choice for sales of New Jersey real estate. They protect the new owner from title issues caused by the current owner’s action or inaction. They do not protect against issues that are unrelated to the current owner.

New Jersey Special Warranty Deed

A New Jersey special warranty deed protects the new owner a little more than a bargain-and-sale deed with covenant.17 The current owner promises to stand behind the transferred title and defend the new owner’s interest against any third-party claims rooted in the current owner’s ownership of the property.18 The current owner effectively agrees to bear the risk for problems that arose while he or she owned the property. Problems that pre-date the current owner’s ownership of the property are the new owner’s responsibility.

Special warranty deeds sometimes include additional covenants of title expressly written into the deed. For example, a special warranty deed might include covenants that the current owner holds complete ownership of the property and that no liens, mortgages, or judgments are attached to the property’s title.19

New Jersey General Warranty Deed

A New Jersey warranty deed—or just warranty deed—has the strongest warranty of title New Jersey law recognizes. The current owner bears all of the risk and guarantees a good title subject only to exceptions written in the deed.20 The current owner agrees to accept responsibility for all claims against the property that exist when the deed is signed unless specifically excluded from the warranty. The date that an issue arose does not matter.

Title Insurance and New Jersey Quitclaim Deeds

Title problems can make a property less valuable or harder to sell. They can cause the owner to sustain financial loss or to lose the property altogether. A quitclaim deed gives the property owner no protection against the risk of financial loss from title problems. An owner who wants to avoid or reduce that financial risk can do so by purchasing a title insurance policy.

Title insurance is a type of insurance coverage that shields the owner or other insured person from financial loss caused by title problems. The insurance company charges an up-front premium and, in return, promises to compensate the insured for financial damages and legal fees resulting from title problems that existed when the policy was issued.21 A title insurance policy protects against issues like:

  • Outstanding judgment liens or tax liens;
  • Adverse third-party claims on the property;
  • Chain-of-title problems caused by a defective or missing deed; or
  • Disputes over boundary lines with neighboring properties.

Quitclaim Deeds and Other New Jersey Deeds Used in Estate Planning

Estate-planning deeds allow real estate ownership to transfer to a new owner when the current owner dies. They offer the benefit of bypassing probate—which reduces the time, expense, and burden of the estate administration process.

New Jersey recognizes two basic types of estate-planning deeds: life estate deeds and survivorship deeds. Both types have no inherent warranty or covenants of title—which means a life estate deed or survivorship deed can also be a quitclaim deed (or a warranty deed, special warranty deed, or bargain-and-sale deed). The convention in New Jersey is to name deeds based on their warranties, so a life estate deed that is also a quitclaim deed is typically titled Quitclaim Deed.

New Jersey Life Estate Deed Form

A life estate deed creates two ownership interests in the same property.22 The first interest (the life estate) gives the interest holder (the life tenant) the right to own the property for the rest of his or her life. An owner creating a life estate deed for an estate plan typically reserves the life estate to him- or herself.

The second interest (the remainder) gives the interest holder (the remainderman, remainder beneficiary, or just beneficiary) the right to take title automatically upon the life tenant’s death. Because the remainder is a vested future interest, the original owner or life tenant cannot take it back from the beneficiary after the deed is signed and recorded. A life tenant also cannot transfer complete title unless the beneficiary joins in the transfer.23

New Jersey Survivorship Deed Form

A deed that creates a right of survivorship between co-owners is sometimes called a survivorship deed. The co-owners share possession and control during life. When one co-owner dies, the other automatically receives complete title. The result is that a deceased co-owner’s interest avoids probate and instead passes directly to the other co-owner.

A New Jersey survivorship deed must specify a form of co-ownership with a right of survivorship. The new co-owners can take title either as joint tenants or (if the co-owners are married spouses) as tenants by the entirety.24 A sole owner of New Jersey real estate can create a survivorship deed naming the owner and another person as the new co-owners.25

Attorney Practice Note: Transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds let real estate owners name a beneficiary to take title when the owner dies without giving up rights in the property during life. TOD deeds are a popular estate-planning tool in many states, but New Jersey does not recognize them.

Common Uses of New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Forms

A deed that transfers New Jersey real estate sold for fair market value is usually not a quitclaim deed. Quitclaim deeds are much more common when a deed’s purpose is to transfer property for nominal or no consideration or to retitle property without changing who actually possesses and controls it. A property owner might use a quitclaim deed for any of these purposes:

  • Right of survivorship. A quitclaim deed can establish a right of survivorship by transferring title to joint tenants or tenants by the entirety.
  • Deed to trust. A quitclaim deed can transfer title to a revocable living trust created by the owner.
  • Deed from trust. A quitclaim deed can transfer title from a trustee to a beneficiary or to a successor beneficiary after the death of the person who formed the trust.
  • Gift deed. A quitclaim deed can transfer property to a family member as a gift.
  • Divorce. A quitclaim deed can transfer title between former spouse following a divorce.

How to Create a New Jersey Quitclaim Deed

A New Jersey quitclaim deed should do three things:

  1. Transfer property with no covenants of title;
  2. Comply with all New Jersey legal requirements;
  3. Reflect the parties’ intended transfer terms.

New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Requirements

A quitclaim deed should be distinguishable from other New Jersey deed forms. It should include no express covenants of title and avoid language that gives rise to implied covenants.26

New Jersey quitclaim deeds typically bear the title Quitclaim Deed and include conveyance language that suggests a quitclaim transfer. For example, quitclaim deeds often state that the owner “remises, releases, and forever quitclaims” the property to the new owner. An express disclaimer of covenants is not essential but can help avoid uncertainty.

New Jersey General Deed Requirements

New Jersey quitclaim deed forms must satisfy the legal requirements that apply to all New Jersey deeds. New Jersey’s real estate laws govern a deed’s format, content, and signing. New Jersey deed requirements address topics such as (without limitation):

  • Paper size;27
  • Identification and legal description of property;28
  • Statements of consideration;29 and
  • Signatures and notarization.30

DeedClaim’s article on New Jersey Deed Recording Requirements provides greater detail about the legal requirements for New Jersey deeds.

Selecting a New Jersey Quitclaim Deed Form

A quitclaim deed that transfers title with no covenants and meets New Jersey’s requirements should also do what the parties want it to do. If it names two new owners, it should identify the co-ownership form.31 An owner who intends to transfer less than complete title must specify the lesser interest to be transferred.32

New Jersey quitclaim deed forms must be designed specifically for New Jersey law. The same deed can have different legal consequences under different states’ laws. A quitclaim deed created for another state may be unsuitable for use in New Jersey. Incorrectly prepared deeds can cause future title problems and may be rejected by the county clerk or register of deeds.

Need a quitclaim deed that meets New Jersey recording requirements?

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  1. K. Woodmere Assocs. v. Menk Corp., 720 A.2d 386 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1998).
  2. N.J.S.A. § 46:5-2.
  3. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-7.
  4. N.J.S.A. §§ 46:4-346:4-10.
  5. N.J.S.A. §§ 46:4-3; 46:4-4.
  6. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-5.
  7. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-5
  8. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-10.
  9. K. Woodmere Assocs. v. Menk Corp., 720 A.2d 386 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1998).
  10. See N.J.S.A. § 46:5-1.
  11. See Somerset County v. Durling, 415 A.2d 371 (N.J. 1980).
  12. See, e.g., S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-11; 33 Maine Rev. Stat. § 765.
  13. See, e.g., Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
  14. See Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023 (a deed provides covenants of title “unless the conveyance expressly provides otherwise”).
  15. See Palmarg Realty Co. v. Rehac, 404 A.2d 21 (N.J. 1979).
  16. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-6.
  17. See Somerset County v. Durling, 415 A.2d 371 (N.J. 1980).
  18. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-8.
  19. See N.J.S.A. §§ 46:4-3; 46:4-5.
  20. N.J.S.A. § 46:4-7.
  21. N.J.S.A. § 17:46B-1(a).
  22. See Content v. Dalton, 194 A. 286 (N.J. 1937).
  23. See N.J.S.A. § 46:3-12.
  24. N.J.S.A. §§ 46:3-17; 46:3-17.2(a).
  25. N.J.S.A. § 46:3-17.1.
  26. See, e.g., N.J.S.A. §§ 46:4-346:4-10.
  27. N.J.S.A. § 46:26A-5(a).
  28. N.J.S.A. §§ 25:1-11(a)(1); 46:26A-3(a)(5)(b).
  29. N.J.S.A. § 46:15-6(a).
  30. N.J.S.A. § 46:26A-3(a).
  31. See N.J.S.A. §§ 46:3-17; 46:3-17.3.
  32. N.J.S.A. § 46:3-13.