What is an Ohio Quitclaim Deed Form?
Ohio landowners can convey some or all of their interests in real estate by executing a signed, written deed.1 An Ohio quitclaim deed is a statutorily authorized deed form that transfers real estate without warranty of title.2 Warranty of title is a guaranty from the current owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee) that the deed conveys clear title to the real estate. A quitclaim deed comes with no such guaranty. The current owner does not promise that the property’s title is clear or that he or she actually owns the property.
An Ohio quitclaim deed transfers whatever interest the signer owns when executing the deed, if any.3 The new owner receives the current owner’s entire present interest and no more—except that a quitclaim deed can expressly limit the interest conveyed.4
Property owners typically use quitclaim deeds to gift, relinquish, or retitle real estate interests. Ohio’s two deed forms that provide warranty of title—general warranty deeds and limited warranty deeds—are more common when a transaction involves a sale or other consideration. Warranty deeds protect a buyer from unknown title defects—like liens, an uncertain chain of title, or a third-party claim on the property.5 Quitclaim deeds leave those risks to the new owner.
Other Names for an Ohio Quitclaim Deed Form
Quitclaim deed—which can also be written quit claim deed–is an apt name. The current owner quits—or surrenders—the claim on the property. Quitclaim deeds can also be called release deeds for the same reason.6 The signer is releasing any claim in the property to the new owner.
The Ohio Revised Code and Ohio courts predominately use quitclaim deed.7 Ohio courts occasionally refer to release deeds, though mostly in references to older cases.8
Quitclaim deed is the favored term in a majority of states nationally. Property owners in a few states use no warranty deeds or deeds without warranty for essentially the same purpose due to title insurance company distrust of quitclaim deeds in those states.9
The word quitclaim is also a verb meaning to transfer real estate by quitclaim deed. Ohio’s custom is to use the word grant to denote a transfer of property.10 Ohio’s statutory quitclaim deed form states that the owner grants real estate to the new owner—with no mention of warranty.11
How do Ohio Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
The defining feature of an Ohio quitclaim deed is that it transfers an owner’s interest in real estate—if any—with no warranty of title or covenants. The Ohio Revised Code includes two other statutory deed forms defined by the progressively increasing warranty of title they offer.
- Limited Warranty Deeds. An Ohio limited warranty deed form transfers real estate “with limited warranty covenants.”12 The current owner guarantees good title free of undisclosed defects and promises to defend the property’s title against adverse third-party claims. However, a limited warranty deed’s guaranty only extends to defects and claims based on events that occurred while the owner owned the property. The new owner bears the risk of defects that arose earlier in the property’s chain of title. Limited warranty deeds go by several other names in other states—including special warranty deed, covenant deed, or grant deed.13
- General Warranty Deeds. An Ohio general warranty deed form transfers real estate “with general warranty covenants.”14 A general warranty is the most thorough warranty of title. The current owner guarantees good title, free of defects and promises to defend the title against third-party claims. The guaranty is not limited to the current owner’s ownership period; defects and claims arising at any point in the property’s chain of title are covered.15 Some states call general warranty deeds simply warranty deeds.
Ohio Quitclaim Deeds Compared to Other Ohio Statutory Deed Forms
Ohio has three additional statutory deed forms designed for specific purposes.
- Survivorship Deeds. An Ohio survivorship deed form transfers real estate to two or more new owners and creates a survivorship tenancy in the new owners.16 A survivorship tenancy is similar to a joint tenancy with right of survivorship in other jurisdictions. When a co-owner dies, the deceased owner’s interest automatically vests in the surviving owner—allowing the deceased owner’s interest to bypass probate.
An Ohio survivorship deed can also be a quitclaim, limited warranty, or general warranty deed—depending on the covenants of warranty—if any—specified in an individual survivorship deed.
- Deed of Executor, Administrator, Trustee, Guardian, Receiver or Commissioner. Called a fiduciary’s deed form for short, an Ohio deed of executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, receiver or commissioner is an Ohio statutory deed form signed by a fiduciary acting on behalf of a represented party.17 An executor of a deceased person’s estate or a trustee acting for a trust—for example—could use a fiduciary’s deed to transfer real estate currently owned by the estate or trust.
An Ohio fiduciary’s deed transfers real estate “with fiduciary covenants.”18 Signing fiduciaries guaranty that they have been validly appointed, have the authority to transfer real estate for the represented party, and followed all relevant statutes relating to the real estate transfer. A fiduciary’s deed is an optional form that can be amended, and a fiduciary may elect to use a quitclaim, limited warranty, or general warranty deed in lieu of a fiduciary’s deed.19
- Transfer on Death Affidavit. An Ohio transfer on death affidavit—or TOD affidavit—serves essentially the same function as a transfer on death deed in other state. A TOD affidavit is recorded in the county land records and designates a beneficiary to receive title to real estate upon the current owner’s death.20 When the owner dies, title to the real estate automatically passes to the beneficiary. An Ohio TOD affidavit has no effect on the present ownership of the property and does not transfer any interest to the beneficiary until the owner dies.21
Common Uses of Ohio Quitclaim Deed Forms
Ohio quitclaim deeds are typically used to transfer real estate when the new owner is providing little or no consideration in exchange for the transfer. Quitclaim deeds are also used when a property is being retitled, but control remains effectively the same.
An owner of Ohio real estate might use a quitclaim deed in any of the following scenarios:
- A property owner conveys Ohio real estate to the owner’s adult child as part of an estate plan.
- An heir who inherits a part-interest in Ohio real estate conveys the part-interest to another heir in connection with administration of a decedent owner’s estate.
- A property owner conveys Ohio real estate to a partnership in which the owner is a partner.22
- A property owner conveys Ohio real estate to a trust the beneficiary of which is the owner, a family member, or a charity.23
- A former spouse releases an interest in co-owned Ohio real estate to the other former spouse as part of a divorce
A new owner receiving title to real estate via quitclaim deed is accepting the risk of unknown title defects. A property owner can purchase title insurance to shift that risk to a title insurance company. A title insurance policy covers a property owner’s financial losses resulting from unknown liens, an unclear chain of title, an unmarketable title, and other title defects.24
How to Create an Ohio Quitclaim Deed
Ohio’s statutory quitclaim deed form provides a good starting point for creating an Ohio quitclaim deed. The suggested quitclaim deed language is as follows:
_______________ (marital status), of __________ County, _____________________ for valuable consideration paid, grant(s) to __________________, whose tax-mailing address is __________, the following real property:
(description of land or interest therein and encumbrances, reservations, and exceptions, if any)
Prior Instrument Reference: Volume _______, Page ______
_______________, wife (husband) of the grantor, releases all rights of dower therein.
Executed this _______________ day of ___________
(Signature of Grantor)25
The quitclaim deed form states that real estate is transferred “for valuable consideration,” though quitclaim deeds often transfer real estate for little or no consideration. Ohio courts have held that a statement of consideration is not vital to an Ohio deed.26 In practice, quitclaim deeds typically identify nominal consideration or use the generalized language from the statute.
Ohio’s statutory deed forms are not mandatory, and a valid quitclaim deed need not rely on the form.27 The form language can also be revised to fit the terms of the specific transaction—such as to limit the transferred ownership interest or allocate ownership among multiple recipients.28
The statutory quitclaim form language by itself does not create a valid and recordable Ohio deed.29 Ohio has numerous other deed requirements not addressed by the statutory form.30 An Ohio quitclaim deed must be carefully drafted and executed to fully comply with Ohio law and accurately memorialize the intended terms of transfer. A faulty deed can result in an ineffective conveyance, an unrecordable document, or a transfer that does not correspond to the parties’ intentions.
- O.R.C. § 1335.04.
- O.R.C. § 5302.11.
- Jonke et. al. v. Rubin, 162 N.E.2d 116 (Ohio 1959).
- O.R.C. § 5301.02; O.R.C. § 5302.04.
- See, e.g., O.R.C. § 3953.01(A).
- See, e.g., Whitt v. Whitt, No. 02-CA-93 (Ohio Ct. App., 2003); Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
- See O.R.C. § 5302.11; Jonke et. al. v. Rubin, 162 N.E.2d 116 (Ohio 1959).
- See Cresinger v. Lessee of Welch, 15 Ohio 156 (1846).
- See, e.g., Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023.
- O.R.C. § 5302.03.
- O.R.C. § 5302.11.
- O.R.C. § 5302.07.
- See, e.g., Oreg. Rev. Stat. § 93.855; Cal. Civ. Code § 1092; Mich. Comp. Law § 750.275 (prohibiting use of term “warranty deed” in deed conveying less than absolute warranty of title).
- O.R.C. § 5302.05.
- O.R.C. § 5302.06.
- O.R.C. § 5302.17.
- O.R.C. § 5302.09.
- O.R.C. § 5302.09.
- O.R.C. § 5302.01.
- O.R.C. § 5302.22(C)(1).
- O.R.C. § 5302.22(A)(5).
- See O.R.C. § 1776.23(A).
- See O.R.C. § 5301.03.
- O.R.C. § 3953.01(A).
- O.R.C. § 5302.11.
- McGovern Builders, Inc. v. Davis, 468 N.E.2d 90 (Ohio App., 1983).
- O.R.C. § 5302.01.
- See O.R.C. § 5301.02; O.R.C. § 5302.19.
- O.R.C. § 5302.11. (stating that a deed using form transfers real estate “when duly executed in accordance with Chapter 5301.”
- See, e.g., O.R.C. § 317.114; O.R.C. § 319.20; O.R.C. § 317.111.