Virginia Quit Claim Deed Form – Summary

The Virginia quit claim deed form gives the new owner whatever interest the current owner has in the property when the deed is signed and delivered. It makes no promises about whether the current owner has clear title to the property. In Virginia, quit claim deeds are often used if the property is being transferred:

  • To a spouse or other family member as a gift;
  • To an ex-spouse following a divorce;
  • To change the nature of marital property;
  • To a living trust or business owned by the current owner;
  • To someone who will own the property with the current owners (adding someone to the deed);
  • From someone who no longer wishes to hold title (removing someone from the deed); or
  • In other circumstances where the current owner does not want to be legally responsible for problems with title.

Special language is required to ensure that the deed qualifies as a quit claim deed. This language is automatically included by our deed preparation service and valid in all Virginia counties. Get Deed

How a Virginia Quitclaim Deed Form Works

What is a Virginia Quitclaim Deed?

A Virginia quitclaim deed form (sometimes called a quick claim deed or quit claim deed) transfers Virginia real estate from the current owner (grantor) to the new owner (grantee) without a warranty of title. The grantee acquires only the interest that the grantor had. If the grantor did not have clear title—or if the grantor did not own the property at all—the grantee cannot sue the grantor for breach of warranty of title.

Quit claim deeds deal with risk allocation. A quit claim deed places all of the risk on the grantee and none on the grantor. The grantee simply accepts title to the property “as is” and has no legal recourse against the grantee if it turns out that there are title problems.

Other Names for a Virginia Quit Claim Deed Form

A Virginia quit claim deed form may also be properly called a quitclaim deed form. The terms “quit claim” (with the space) and “quitclaim” (with the space removed) are interchangeable. Some laypeople refer to a quit claim deed form as a quick claim deed. This is always incorrect. There is no such thing as a quick claim deed.

In some states—including Texas and North Carolina—title insurance companies are sometimes willing to insure title for property that is transferred by quit claim deed. In those states, attorneys often use an alternative deed form called a deed without warranty (or no warranty deed) to transfer property without a warranty of title. Because Virginia title companies routinely insure property transferred by quit claim deed, quit claim deeds are perfectly fine in Virginia and these other types of deeds are unnecessary.

Relationship of Quitclaim Deed Form to Warranty of Title

Key Term: Warranty of Title. Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys. Title issues often require legal action to fix and can decrease the value of real estate. If the property has no title issues, it is said to have clear title. A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the transferor to the transferee that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the transferee can sue the transferor over any title issues.

The name quit claim deed form refers exclusively to the warranty of title provided—or, in this case, not provided—in the deed. It distinguishes quit claim deeds from two other popular Virginia deed forms that provide a warranty of title:

  1. Virginia Warranty Deed Form – A grantor that signs a Virginia warranty deed form—also called a general warranty deed form—provides a full warranty of title that includes the grantor’s promise to defend the title against all claims by third parties, including claims that arose from the time before the grantor owned the property.
  2. Virginia Special Warranty Deed Form – Provides a limited warranty of title that only covers the period when the grantor owned the property. The grantor is responsible for defending the title to the property for any claims that arose during the grantor’s ownership, but not any claims that arose before the grantor owned the property.

The name quit claim deed form also distinguishes quitclaim deed from two other Virginia deed forms that are named after estate planning (probate avoidance) features other than the warranty of title:

  1. Virginia Life Estate Deed Form – A life estate deed divides property into periods of consecutive ownership. The life tenant holds a life estate that is possessory during the life tenant’s life. The remainder beneficiaries hold a remainder interest that becomes possessory on the death of the life tenant. The life tenant cannot change his or her mind, sell, mortgage, or otherwise deal with the property without involving the remainder beneficiaries.
  2. Virginia TOD Deed Form – A transfer-on-death (TOD) deed is a newer form of deed authorized by Virginia statute to avoid probate by passing Virginia real estate to designated beneficiaries on the death of an owner. The owner can freely sell or mortgage the property or change his or her mind—including changing or revoking the beneficiary designation—without involving the designated beneficiaries.

The same deed may have multiple names. Because a life estate deed can include language that includes or excludes a warranty of title, a life estate deed may also be a quit claim deed, special warranty deed, or warranty deed.

Common Uses of Quit Claim Deeds

Quit claim deeds are very popular tools for transfers between related parties. Common examples include:

  • Transferring property to a friend, family member, or charitable organization without consideration (as a gift);
  • Removing an ex-spouse from the title deed to real estate following a divorce;
  • Adding a new spouse to the title deed to real estate following a marriage;
  • Transferring property to joint owners—as joint tenants with right of survivorship—to avoid probate at death; and
  • Other situations where the grantor does not wish to provide a warranty of title and the grantee will accept the property without the warranty of title.

Because a quitclaim deed provides no protection to the grantee, a grantee that is paying full value for the property will often prefer a warranty deed or special warranty deed to a quitclaim deed. For this reason, quitclaim deeds are not as popular in the sale context. But in some situations, even a grantee that is paying full price may accept a quit claim deed if a title insurance policy is also purchased in connection with the sale.

How to Create a Virginia Quit Claim Deed

To create a valid Virginia quit claim deed, special care must be taken to ensure that no warranty of title is created. This is usually accomplished by using very specific language (for example, “remise, release, and forever quit claim”) in the vesting paragraph of the deed. This language—or something similar—is routinely interpreted to create a quit claim deed under Virginia law.

Virginia quit claim deeds must also meet the general requirements that apply to other Virginia deed forms. These requirements include a valid legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title, font size and page format requirements, and signature and notarization requirements.

It is important to get the vesting language right and satisfy the requirements of Virginia law. Deeds created for use in other states—or, even worse, generic fill-in-the-blank forms—may be invalid under Virginia law or cause title problems that require costly litigation to correct. Each deed created by our online deed preparation service was attorney-designed to meet the requirements of Virginia law and be eligible for recording in all Virginia counties.