New York Quitclaim Deed Form

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What Is a New York Quitclaim Deed Form?

A New York quitclaim deed form transfers ownership of real estate with no warranty or covenants of title.1 The person who signs the deed (the grantor or transferor) gives the person who receives the deed (the grantee) whatever title the grantor has. The transferor does not guarantee that the deed will transfer valid title to the property or that the property is free from liens.

What Is Warranty of Title?

Warranty of title is a transferor’s guarantee that the new owner will receive valid ownership of real estate and that there are no undisclosed problems with the property’s title. A warranty protects the new owner because if a title problem arises that is covered by the warranty, the transferor must fix the problem or compensate the new owner for financial loss the problem causes. A warranty might require the transferor, for example, to reimburse the new owner for the cost of removing an undisclosed lien.

A deed’s warranty is embodied in legal promises—called covenants of title—written in the deed. Different types of deeds include different covenants of title and therefore give the new owner different guarantees.2

  1. The current owner has valid title and the right to transfer the property.
  2. The new owner’s possession will not be disturbed by adverse claims.
  3. No undisclosed encumbrances—debts recorded against a property’s title such as liens, mortgages, assessments, or recorded judgments—affect the property.
  4. The current owner will take any actions reasonably necessary to confirm the new owner’s title.
  5. The current owner stands behind the title and will defend it against adverse claims.

Warranty of Title and New York Quitclaim Deeds

A New York quitclaim deed form provides no warranty or covenants of title.3 Quitclaim deeds give no guarantees regarding the transferred property’s title—neither express nor implied.4 The new owner who takes title under a quitclaim deed assumes all risk of problems with the property’s title and cannot sue the transferor under the deed if title problems arise.

Other Names for a New York Quitclaim Deed Form

Quitclaim deed—sometimes shortened to just quitclaim—is the most common term for a New York deed that transfers property with no warranty of title.5 Quit claim deed and quit-claim deed are acceptable alternative spellings. Quickclaim deed is sometimes used in error but is not an actual legal term.

Certain types of New York quitclaim deeds can go by other names. A quitclaim deed that transfers property as a gift for no consideration may be called a gift deed. A quitclaim deed that surrenders a co-owner’s interest to another co-owner or settles a title dispute may be called a deed of release—though that term is rarely used in New York any longer.6

New York’s statutory short-form deeds provide for a “bargain-and-sale deed without covenant” that also transfers real estate with no warranty.7 A New York bargain-and-sale deed without covenant has essentially the same legal impact as a New York quitclaim deed.

Some states use synonyms for deeds that function like New York quitclaim deeds. Names used in other states include:

  • Release deed;
  • Quitclaim deed without covenant;
  • No-warranty deed; and
  • Deed without warranty.8

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

A quitclaim deed is as effective as other New York deeds to transfer title to property.9 What sets apart a quitclaim deed is that it includes no covenants of title and therefore provides no guarantee of a good title.10 The new owner receives whatever interest the current owner has the power to transfer. The risk of any problems with the property’s title rests only with the new owner.

New York law recognizes several other types of deeds that include one or more covenants of title from the current owner. The covenants of title place some or all title-related related risk on the current owner.

New York Deed with Full Covenants Form

A New York deed with full covenants is the New York equivalent of what most states call a general warranty deed or just warranty deed.11 A deed with full covenants provides complete warranty of title and includes the five covenants of title described above.12 The current owner making the transfer bears all risk of title problems—regardless of when a problem arose. Only issues expressly excluded by the deed are outside the warranty’s scope.

New York Special Warranty Deed Form

A New York special warranty deed form transfers real estate with limited warranty of title—splitting the risk of title problems between the current owner and new owner. The current owner guarantees a good title subject only to issues listed in the deed. However, the warranty only covers problems that arose while the current owner owned the property. An adverse claim that arose before the current owner took title is outside of the warranty’s scope.

Special warranty deeds are relatively uncommon in New York compared to many other states. This is because one of New York’s statutory short-form deeds—a bargain-and-sale with covenant deed—has a very similar function.

New York Bargain-and-Sale Deed with Covenant Form

A New York bargain-and-sale deed with covenant against grantor transfers real estate with one covenant of title.13 The covenant guarantees that the current owner who signs the deed has “not done or suffered anything whereby the said premises have been incumbered in any way whatever.”14 In other words, the transferor promises that he or she has not done, signed, or permitted anything whatsoever to impair the property’s title.

The effect of the covenant is that the current owner bears the risk for title problems the current owner caused or allowed to occur. The new owner accepts responsibility for title issues not derived from something the current owner did or allowed to be done.

Attorney Practice Note: New York authorizes another type of bargain-and-sale deed called a bargain-and-sale deed without covenant against grantor.15 The content of the deed is the same as a bargain-and-sale deed with covenant except that it omits the covenant regarding the grantor’s actions and inaction. The legal effects of a New York bargain-and-sale deed with covenant and a New York quitclaim deed are nearly the same.

Title Insurance and New York Quitclaim Deeds

A new owner who takes title under a New York quitclaim deed assumes the risk of problems with the property’s title. The owner may suffer significant financial loss if a title problem arises. Financial loss caused by a title problem could be, for example, the cost of paying off a lien to clear the property’s title or loss of the property altogether if a third party has a superior ownership claim.

A property owner can reduce the financial risk of title problems by purchasing a title insurance policy. Title insurance is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to cover the financial risk of a faulty title or an adverse claim against the property.16 The owner or other person purchasing the coverage pays a premium when the policy is issued. If a title problem emerges, the title insurer pays the necessary legal fees and compensates the owner for any financial damage the problem causes.

Quitclaim Deeds and Other New York Deeds Used in Estate Planning

Deeds used in estate planning are defined by how they function—rather than by the warranty of title they provide. The purpose of most estate-planning deeds it to allow an owner to keep property for life and transfer it to a named beneficiary outside of probate when the owner dies. New York’s two main estate-planning deeds—life estate deeds and survivorship deeds—have no inherent warranty or covenants. In both cases, the estate-planning deed can also be a quitclaim deed if it includes no covenants of title.

New York Life Estate Deed Form

A New York life estate deed form creates an ownership interest called a life estate—which gives the holder the right to the property for life. Another person called the remainderman or beneficiary receives the right to take title when the life tenant dies. Once the deed is signed and delivered, the owner (now the life tenant) can only transfer the life estate and can no longer transfer complete ownership of the property.17

A property owner creating a New York life estate deed often keeps the life estate and quitclaims the remainder to a family member as beneficiary.

New York Survivorship Deed

A survivorship deed is a deed that transfers real estate to two or more co-owners using a form of co-ownership that has a right of survivorship. New York’s two co-ownership forms with a right of survivorship are joint tenancy and (if the co-owners are married to each other) tenancy by the entirety. The right of survivorship gives a surviving co-owner the right to receive a deceased owner’s share.

A survivorship deed can be a useful estate-planning tool because the deceased co-owner’s interest transfers to the survivor without probate. An individual owner might, for example, record a survivorship deed that transfers title to the owner and the owner’s child as joint tenants.18 A survivorship deed in New York generally has a title based on the warranty it provides. Thus, a survivorship deed’s title might be Quitclaim Deed if it includes no covenants of title.

Common Uses of New York Quitclaim Deed Forms

New York property owners typically use quitclaim deeds for transfers that involve no consideration—or payment given in exchange for the deed. A deed with no consideration typically transfers real estate to a new owner as a gift or changes how it is titled without affecting actual possession of the property. A quitclaim deed could accomplish any of the following objectives.

  • Create a right of survivorship. A quitclaim deed can create a right of survivorship by transferring title to the current owner and another person as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety (if the co-owners are married).19
  • Transfer property to a trust. A quitclaim deed can transfer title to a living trust created for the owner’s estate plan.20
  • Transfer property to a business. A quitclaim deed can transfer property to a corporation or LLC controlled by the current property owner.21
  • Divorce deed. Divorced co-owners can use a quitclaim deed to divide property under the terms of their divorce case.

How to Create a New York Quitclaim Deed

A New York quitclaim deed must avoid adopting or implying covenants of title and satisfy all of New York’s general deed requirements. A deed must also reflect the parties’ desired terms—for example, by specifying the form of co-ownership if the deed transfers title to more than one new owner.22

New York Quitclaim Deed Requirements

A quitclaim deed’s transfer language must transfer ownership without providing a warranty. New York’s short-form quitclaim deed says that the current owner “does hereby remise, release, and quitclaim” the property to the new owner.23 The short-form quitclaim deed has sufficient transfer language but does not contain everything necessary for a deed that fully complies with New York law.

New York’s real estate laws provide short-form language for six covenants of title.24 For example, a deed with the words “shall quietly enjoy the said premises” creates a guarantee from the current owner that the new owner will have undisturbed possession of the property.25 A quitclaim deed must avoid any of the short-form phrases for covenants of title. New York’s model quitclaim deed language does not expressly disclaim covenants of title, but quitclaim deeds sometimes include a disclaimer to avoid ambiguity.

New York General Deed Requirements

New York formatting standards for deeds are mostly set at the county level, though most counties’ standards are similar. New York’s real estate laws include multiple items that every deed in the state must contain to make an effective transfer. New York requires all deeds to include, among other things:

  • The parties’ names and addresses;26
  • An accurate legal description of the property;27
  • The property’s tax map designation;28 and
  • The transferring owner’s notarized signature.29

Selecting a New York Quitclaim Deed Form

Deed rules are established at the state level, and different states’ rules and requirements can have major differences. A New York quitclaim deed must observe New York’s rules and follow the formatting customs of the county where the deed is recorded. A deed created for a state other than New York may fail to transfer legal ownership or lead to future problems with the property’s title.

Need a quitclaim deed that meets New York recording requirements?

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  1. Wallach v. Riverside Bank, 100 N.E. 50 (N.Y. 1912).
  2. See N.Y. Real Prop. §§ 253(1)-(6) (short-form covenants authorized by New York law). A New York deed “with full covenants” includes five guarantees: See N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form A – Deed with Full Covenants).
  3. Wallach v. Riverside Bank, 100 N.E. 50 (N.Y. 1912).
  4. See N.Y. Real Prop. § 251.
  5. See N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form D – Quitclaim Deed).
  6. See Bradt v. Church, 18 N.E. 357 (N.Y. 1888).
  7. N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form C).
  8. See, e.g., Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950); 33 Maine Rev. Stat. § 765; Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023 (requiring deeds without warranty by implying covenants absent an express disclaimer).
  9. Wallach v. Riverside Bank, 100 N.E. 50 (N.Y. 1912).
  10. N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form B).
  11. N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form A).
  12. See N.Y. Real Prop. §§ 253(1)-(5) (defining the five covenants in a deed with full covenants).
  13. N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form C).
  14. N.Y. Real Prop. § 253(6).
  15. N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form B).
  16. N.Y. Ins. Law § 6401(b).
  17. N.Y. Real Prop. § 247.
  18. N.Y. Real Prop. § 240-b(1).
  19. N.Y. Real Prop. § 240-b(1).
  20. See N.Y. EPTL § 7-1.18.
  21. See N.Y. Real Prop. § 309; N.Y. LLC Law § 202(b).
  22. See N.Y. Real Prop. § 240-b.
  23. N.Y. Real Prop. § 258 (Statutory Form D).
  24. N.Y. Real Prop. §§ 253(1)-(6).
  25. N.Y. Real Prop. § 253(2).
  26. N.Y. Real Prop. § 333(1-a).
  27. N.Y. Real Prop. § 316-A(4);
  28. N.Y. Real Prop. § 333.
  29. N.Y. Real Prop. § 243.