What is an Oklahoma Quitclaim Deed Form?
An Oklahoma real estate owner transfers title to a new owner by executing and recording a signed, written deed.1 An Oklahoma quitclaim deed form is a type of deed that transfers whatever interest the property owner currently holds with no warranty of title.2
Warranty of title is the current owner’s guaranty that a deed conveys valid title free of undisclosed title defects—such as liens or third-party claims.3 Because an Oklahoma quitclaim deed conveys real estate with no warranty of title, the new owner receives the real estate essentially as-is. A quitclaim deed effectively transfers whatever interest the current owner can transfer when signing the deed—including any interest that vests in the future.4 The new owner, though, cannot sue the current owner for breach of warranty if the transferred interest ends up being invalid or flawed.
The Oklahoma Legislature provides a statutory short form for quitclaim deeds that provides the vesting language to include in the deed (along with the other requirements of Oklahoma law).5 A deed in the prescribed form and that otherwise meets all legal requirements transfers without warranty of title all title, rights, and interest that the current owner has the power to transfer. The parties can agree to limit the interest transferred by a quitclaim deed through express language in a deed.6
Other Names for an Oklahoma Quitclaim Deed Form
Oklahoma’s real estate statutes and Oklahoma courts call a deed that transfers real estate without warranty of title a quitclaim deed.7 The alternative spellings quit claim deed and quit-claim deed are generally acceptable—though used less frequently.8 Oklahoma legal professionals also use the word quitclaim as a verb indicating that an owner is transferring an interest without warranty.9
Release deed can be a synonym for quitclaim deed in some contexts.10 Release deed is typically used when the person signing the deed is giving up a claim on the property or surrendering a partial interest to another owner. In Oklahoma, release deed is more often used to describe the recorded instrument formally releasing a mortgage than as a synonym for quitclaim deed.11
How do Oklahoma Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
Oklahoma quitclaim deeds convey a property owner’s entire interest in real estate to the new owner identified in the deed.12 Two other deed forms recognized under Oklahoma law—general warranty deeds and special warranty deeds—also convey the property owner’s entire interest.13 What sets apart a quitclaim deed is that it transfers the property interest with no warranty of title from the current owner.14
A quitclaim deed’s lack of warranty means the new owner bears all risk of title defects. A title defect is a problem with a property’s title that reduces its value or marketability. Potential title defects include outstanding liens and mortgages, an unclear chain of title, and bona fide ownership claims of third parties.15 In some cases, a would-be owner with a defective title does not legally own the property at all.16
While quitclaim deeds place the risk of title defects entirely on the new owner, other Oklahoma deed forms allow the current owner to assume some or all of the risk.
- General Warranty Deeds. A property owner who executes an Oklahoma warranty deed form—also called general warranty deed form—fully warrants the title to the transferred real estate.17 The current owner guarantees that the deed transfers valid title and agrees to be legally responsible if a title defect emerges. The guaranty applies regardless of when in the chain of title the title defect arose. The Oklahoma Legislature publishes a model warranty deed form within Okla. Stat. §16-40.
- Special Warranty Deeds. A property owner who executes an Oklahoma special warranty deed form warrants the transferred title—but only as to title defects arising while the property owner held title to the property.18 A title defect earlier in the property’s chain of title is outside the scope of a special warranty deed’s warranty. The current owner and new owner share the risk of unknown defects. Oklahoma does not specifically recognize special warranty deeds by statute. They instead arise under common law and the parties’ right to define the terms of transfer.
Quitclaim deeds, warranty deeds, and special warranty deeds are distinguishable according to the allocation of risk between the current owner and the new owner. All three deed forms are versatile and customizable for a range of transactions. Oklahoma also recognizes several deed forms intended for specific uses or settings. A transfer on death deed—for instance—designates a beneficiary to take title to real estate upon the owner’s death without hindering the owner’s right to use, sell, or mortgage the property during life.19 Transfer on death deeds are a popular tool for estate planning because they allow real estate to bypass the owner’s probate estate.20
Common Uses of Oklahoma Quitclaim Deed Forms
Oklahoma quitclaim deeds forms are not typically used when a property owner sells real estate for fair market value. Purchasers and mortgage lenders want assurance that a substantial payment is acquiring a valid title.
A quitclaim deed is more fitting when the new owner provides little or no consideration for the transfer or when the current owner will retain possession of the property after the deed. A quitclaim deed form might be the right option in scenarios like the following:
- A sole owner of real estate transfers title to the owner and the owner’s spouse as tenants by the entirety to create a right of survivorship.21
- A real estate owner titles the property in the name of a partnership in which the owner is a partner.22
- A real estate owner transfers title to a revocable trust formed by the owner as part of an estate plan.23
- An executor or administrator of a deceased owner’s estate conveys property from the estate to a purchaser or other assignee.24
- A spouse conveys a one-half interest in co-owned real estate to the other spouse as part of a property division in a divorce.
Because a quitclaim deed provides no warranty of title, the new owner bears all the risk of an invalid or unmarketable title. Title insurance lets a property owner transfer the risk to an insurance company. In exchange for a premium payment, a title insurance policy protects against financial loss resulting from unknown liens or mortgages, a flawed chain of title, or adverse claims on a property’s title.25
How to Create an Oklahoma Quitclaim Deed
Oklahoma’s statutory model language for quitclaim deeds is based on the warranty deed form. The primary differences are that a quitclaim deed adds the word quitclaims to the vesting clause, and the form omits reference to warranty of title.26 With the changes, Oklahoma’s statutory quitclaim deed reads as follows:
Know all men by these Presents:
That [current owner(s)] part __ of the first part, in consideration of the sum of [consideration] dollars, in hand paid, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, do hereby quitclaim, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto [new owner] the following described real property and premises, situate in ____ County, State of Oklahoma, to-wit:
together with all the improvements thereon and the appurtenances thereunto belonging.
To have and to hold said described premises unto the said part __ of the second part, [his / her / their] heirs and assigns forever, free, clear and discharged of and from all former grants, charges, taxes, judgments, mortgages and other liens and encumbrances of whatsoever nature;
Signed and delivered this ____ day of ____ 191_.
The model quitclaim deed language is optional and may be unnecessarily complex.27 An effective quitclaim deed need not rely on the model language, and the parties to a quitclaim deed can modify a deed’s language to reflect the parties’ agreed terms. For example, Oklahoma law assumes that a quitclaim deed conveys the current owner’s entire interest, but a deed can expressly limit the scope of the conveyance.28
The Oklahoma Legislature’s form quitclaim deed alone is insufficient to create a valid, recordable deed. Oklahoma’s real estate statutes set forth numerous requirements for formatting, content, and execution of deeds not directly addressed by the statutory form.29
An Oklahoma quitclaim deed form must address the unique aspects of Oklahoma law and any specific terms of conveyance agreed by the parties. A deed prepared based on another state’s laws can result in an ineffective conveyance and future problems with a property’s title.
- Okla. Stat. §16-4(A).
- Callahan v. Stewart, 231 F.Supp. 115 (E.D. Okla. 1964).
- See Okla. Stat. §16-19.
- Okla. Stat. §16-18; see also Garrett v. Reinhart, 36 P.2d 884 (Okla. 1934)
- Okla. Stat. §16-41.
- Okla. Stat. §16-29.
- See Okla. Stat. §16-18; Garrett v. Reinhart, 36 P.2d 884 (Okla. 1934).
- See, e.g., Shackelton v. Sherrard, 385 P.2d 898 (Okla. 1963); Scott v. Peters, 2016 OK 108 (Okla. 2016) (unpublished).
- See, e.g., Callahan v. Stewart, 231 F.Supp. 115 (E.D. Okla. 1964) (owner of mineral rights “quitclaimed…the one-half mineral interest in the subject property to [the new owner]…”)
- See, e.g., Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950).
- See Okla. Stat. §46-16.
- Okla. Stat. §16-18.
- Okla. Stat. §16-19.
- Garrett v. Reinhart, 36 P.2d 884 (Okla. 1934).
- Okla. Stat. §36-709.
- See, e.g., Rogers v. Amrey, 251 P. 1013 (Okla. 1926).
- Okla. Stat. §16-19.
- Whayne v. McBirney, 157 P.2d 161 (Okla. 1945).
- Okla. Stat. §58-1257.
- Okla. Stat. §58-1258.
- See Okla. Stat. §60-74.
- See Okla. Stat. §54-1-204.
- See Okla. Stat. §60-175.6a.
- See, g., Okla. Stat. §58-429; Okla. Stat. §58-505.
- Okla. Stat. §36-709.
- See Okla. Stat. §16-41.
- See Okla. Stat. §16-41.
- Okla. Stat. §16-18.
- See, e.g., Okla. Stat. §19-298(B); Okla. Stat. §16-4(A); Okla. Stat. §16-26.