Texas Quitclaim Deed Form
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What is a Texas Quitclaim Deed Form?
A Texas quitclaim deed form is a specific type of deed that releases to a new owner (called the grantee) whatever interest is owned by the person signing the deed (called the grantor). A quitclaim deed provides no warranty of title. That means the person who signs the deed does not guarantee that he or she actually owns the real estate or that the new owner will receive a clear title. The new owner simply receives whatever interest (if any) that the person who signs the deed can legally transfer.
Using a Deed Without Warranty Instead of a Texas Quitclaim Deed
Quitclaim deeds are common for real estate transfers in most states. They are valid in Texas, too, but much less common. This is because Texas title insurance companies are notoriously wary of quitclaim deeds.
Why are Texas Title Insurance Companies Wary of Quitclaim Deeds?
Title insurers’ concern with quitclaim deeds comes from their interpretation of a Texas real estate law. The law says that an unrecorded deed or another document that affects a property is “binding on … any subsequent purchaser who does not pay a valuable consideration.”1 That means that a person who acquires real estate for no consideration—or no value given in exchange for the property—takes title subject to any earlier unrecorded deeds or mortgages on the property.
Texas title insurance companies are wary of quitclaim deeds because quitclaim deeds are often made without consideration. Their concern is that there could be problems with the property’s title caused by an earlier unrecorded document. If the document was unrecorded, it will not turn up in a title examination. Because of that risk, title companies are reluctant to insure a property’s title if there is a quitclaim deed in the property’s ownership history—called its chain of title.
Deeds without Warranty as an Alternative to Texas Quitclaim Deeds
Title insurance plays a large role in modern real estate practice, so it is almost always best to use a deed that title insurers will accept. A Texas deed without warranty lets a property owner accomplish essentially the same result as a quitclaim deed without offending title insurance companies.
A deed without warranty is like a quitclaim deed in that the current owner is not legally responsible if there are problems with the property’s title. The difference is that:
- A person who transfers property through a quitclaim deed does not claim to convey clear title. The signer simply releases any interest he or she owns in the property to the person named in the deed.
- A person who transfers property through a deed without warranty that includes the grant, sell, and convey language actually transfers the property itself (not just the transferor’s interest).
This distinction has little practical impact on the parties to the deed, but it is important to most title insurance companies.
Our deed creation software supports both Texas quitclaim deeds and Texas deeds without warranty. The user-friendly interview guides you through the decisions needed to create the right deed for your situation.
Other Names for a Texas Quitclaim Deed Form
A Texas quitclaim deed can also be called a quit claim deed (with a space between “quit” and “claim”). Both terms are correct and can be used interchangeably. Some people mistakenly call a quitclaim deed a quick claim deed (or quickclaim deed), which is incorrect. There is no such thing as a quick claim deed or quick claim deed form.
The names deed without warranty and non-warranty deed are sometimes used as synonyms for quitclaim deed. The difference in most states is trivial. However, as noted above, it is important in Texas to distinguish quitclaim deeds from deeds without warranty—due to Texas title insurance companies’ mistrust of quitclaim deeds.
How do Texas Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
Texas quitclaim deeds and deeds without warranty are both defined by the lack of a warranty of title. The person transferring the property is simply giving whatever interest he or she owns to the person receiving the property. If there is a problem with the property’s title, the person who receives the property has no legal rights against the transferor under the deed.
As one Texas court described it:
A quitclaim deed conveys any title, interest, or claim of the grantor in the real property, but it does not profess that the title is valid nor does it contain any warranty or covenants of title. Thus, a quitclaim deed does not establish title in the person holding the deed, but merely passes whatever interest the grantor has in the property.2
Which Texas Deed Forms Provide Warranty of Title?
The lack of a warranty distinguishes Texas quitclaim deed forms and Texas deeds without warranty from two other types of deeds that are common in Texas. Texas warranty deeds and Texas special warranty deeds are characterized by the complete or limited warranty of title that they provide.
A Texas warranty deed form—also called a general warranty deed form—transfers a property with a complete warranty of title.3 The current owner guarantees that the new owner will receive unimpaired ownership of the property—subject only to issues that the warranty deed specifically identifies. The new owner has legal rights under the deed if an issue arises with the property’s title.
A Texas special warranty deed—also called a limited warranty deed—transfers a property with a limited warranty. The current owner guarantees that he or she did nothing to impair the property’s title but makes no representations about issues that arose before the current owner took title. A Texas special warranty deed splits the risk of unknown title problems between the current owner and new owner—depending on when the issue occurred. The transferor is responsible for title problems that arose while he or she owned the property. Any other issues are the new owner’s responsibility.
Title Insurance and Texas Quitclaim Deeds and Deeds without Warranty
Title insurance is an insurance contract that protects a property owner against financial loss caused by a lien, chain-of-title problem, boundary dispute or other unknown problem affecting a property’s title.4 A buyer, seller, or lender can purchase a title insurance policy—usually through a lump-sum premium paid at closing. A new policy requires a professional title examination—which also increases the likelihood of identifying potential problems before closing.
Quitclaim deeds do not protect the new owner from title problems, but title insurance can relieve the new owner of the financial risk by shifting it to the insurance company. However, as discussed above, Texas title insurance companies are often unwilling to insure a property’s title if it comes through a quitclaim deed. A Texas deed without warranty can usually solve this problem—allowing the parties to pass title with no warranty and still obtain title insurance.
Quitclaim Deeds and Other Texas Deeds Used in Estate Planning
Texas quitclaim deeds and deeds without warranty are defined by their lack of warranty. Texas recognizes other types of deeds that are defined by the probate avoidance features they offer. Texas recognizes three deed forms that are popular in Texas estate planning.
- Texas transfer-on-death deed. A Texas transfer-on-death deed form (or TOD deed) names a beneficiary to take title when the owner dies.5 TOD deeds allow the current owner to keep all rights in the property—including the right to sell or mortgage the property or revoke the TOD deed—during life.
- Texas life estate deed. A Texas life estate deed form separates ownership of real estate into two distinct interests. The first interest—called the life estate—gives the interest holder the right to own the property until his or her death. The second interest—called the remainder—gives the interest holder the right to take title upon the death of the life estate holder (or life tenant). The life tenant cannot do anything—like sell or transfer the property—to impair the remainder interest without the remainder interest holder’s consent.
- Texas enhanced life estate deed. A Texas enhanced life estate deed form (or lady bird deed) is a variation of a life estate deed that only a few states recognize. The difference is that a life tenant keeps stronger rights in the property with a lady bird deed. The deed expressly reserves the life tenant’s right to sell or transfer the property without the remainder beneficiary’s consent.
A deed’s probate-avoidance features are distinct from its warranty of title. It is therefore possible for two names to apply to the same deed. For example, a Texas lady bird deed could also be a quitclaim deed or deed without warranty if the deed transfers title with no warranty and reserves an enhanced life estate to the current owner.
Assuming the person added to the deed outlives the original owner, the property will automatically transfer to that person at the original owner’s death. This approach should only be used if the owner is comfortable giving away part of the property during the owner’s life.
Common Uses of Texas Quitclaim Deed and Deed without Warranty Forms
In Texas, the most common use of a quitclaim deed or deed without warranty is to release an interest in property to someone already listed on the title. For example, a Texas quitclaim deed could be used to release the property to an ex-spouse following a divorce or otherwise remove an owner from title.
Because most buyers will require more protection than a quitclaim deed provides, quitclaim deeds are rarely used in the sale context. Instead, they are used when Texas real estate is transferred without consideration (as a gift). A Texas property owner might transfer property as a gift to:
- Add a spouse or family member to the property’s title to co-own property with the original owner;
- Transfer title to a living trust created to avoid probate; or
- Transfer property to an LLC or other business entity controlled by the property owner.
How to Create a Texas Quitclaim Deed or Deed without Warranty
Texas has no statutory deed form for quitclaim deeds or for deeds without warranty. Either deed must satisfy Texas’ general requirements for all deeds and must make clear that the deed provides no warranty of title.
Texas Quitclaim Deed and Deed without Warranty Requirements
A Texas quitclaim deed form’s granting clause omits the phrase grant, sell, and convey that is used in the Texas statutory warranty deed form.6 Instead, a quitclaim deed form uses the word quitclaim or a similar phrase like remise, release, and quitclaim as an alternative.
A Texas deed without warranty form’s granting clause uses the standard grant, sell, and convey language found in other Texas deed forms like warranty deeds and special warranty deeds. The word grant or convey in a Texas deed ordinarily results in an implied warranty.7 However, a Texas deed without warranty also includes a separate section that expressly excludes all warranties, including implied warranties and common law warranties.
For both quitclaim deeds and deeds without warranty, the person who signs the deed is not responsible for any title problems. The difference between the two types of deeds is exactly what is being transferred. A transferor under a Texas quitclaim deed releases his or her interest (if any) to the transferee. A transferor under a Texas deed without warranty is actually transferring the property to the transferee.
Texas General Deed Requirements
Quitclaim deeds and deeds without warranty must also meet the requirements that apply to all Texas deeds. A deed must include, for example:
- A valid legal description;
- A statement of consideration; and
- A description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title (if there is more than one transferee).
The deed must also be formatted correctly to be eligible for recording. For example, a deed must use the correct font size and margins. Signature blocks and the notary’s acknowledgment form must comply with Texas law and any local customs.
Selecting a Texas Quitclaim Deed or Deed without Warranty Form
There are subtle differences between quitclaim deeds, deeds without warranty, and other Texas deed forms (like warranty deeds or special warranty deeds). The differences often seem small, but it is important to get the wording right. Using the wrong language can have unfortunate legal consequences.
A deed used to transfer Texas real estate must comply with Texas law. A deed form created for another state may be perfect in that state but altogether invalid if used in Texas. Each deed form prepared by our deed creation software was designed by licensed Texas attorneys to meet the requirements of Texas law.
Need a quitclaim deed that meets Texas recording requirements?
Each deed produced by deed creation software is attorney-designed to comply with Texas law. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed in minutes.