Washington Quit Claim Deed Form – Summary

The Washington 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 Washington, 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 Washington counties. Get Deed

How a Washington Quit Claim Deed Form Works

What is a Washington Quit Claim Deed?

A Washington quit claim deed form (sometimes called a quick claim deed or quitclaim deed) transfers Washington real estate from the current owner (grantor) to a new owner (grantee) with no warranty of title. The grantee acquires whatever interest the grantor had in the property, but the grantor is not responsible for any title issues. Even if the grantor did not own the property, the grantee may not sue the grantor for failure to convey clear title to the grantee.

A quit claim deed is about risk allocation. The grantor that conveys property by quit claim deed form assumes no risk, and a grantee that acquires property by a quit claim deed form takes the title “as is” and cannot sue the grantor for title problems. Of the Washington deed forms, a quit claim deed is the least protective to the grantee and least risky to the grantor.

Other Names for a Washington Quit Claim Deed Form

The terms quit claim and quitclaim are interchangeable. A Washington quit claim deed form may be correctly called a quitclaim deed form (with no space in “quitclaim”).

Some laypeople mistakenly refer to a quit claim deed as a quick claim deed. This is always incorrect. There is no such thing as a “quick deed” or “quick claim deed.”

In some states, including Texas and North Carolina, quit claim deeds are seldomly used due to title insurance underwriting requirements. Some title insurance companies in those states are reluctant to insure property that passes by quit claim deed. In those states, a different deed form called a deed without warranty (or no warranty deed) is often used as an alternative to a quit claim deed. Washington title insurance companies routinely insure quit claim deeds, so there is no need for a deed without warranty.

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 term quit claim deed deals exclusively with the warranty of title omitted from the deed. It distinguishes the quit claim deed form from three other deed forms that provide a warranty of title. These other deed forms include:

  1. Washington Statutory Warranty Deed Form – Provides a full warranty of title that covers all title defects, including those that arose before the grantor owned the property.
  2. Washington Bargain-and-Sale Deed Form – Provides a limited warranty of title that is defined by statute and limits the grantor’s liability to the period when the grantor owned the property.
  3. Washington Special Warranty Deed Form – Like a bargain-and-sale deed, a special warranty deed provides a limited warranty of title that is limited to the period when the grantor owned the property. But unlike a bargain-and-sale deed, the warranty is defined in the deed itself and not implied by statute.

A quit claim deed also differs from two other Washington deeds that are named after their use as estate planning tools to avoid probate:

  1. Washington Life Estate Deed Form – Creates an inheritable remainder interest that passes to remainder beneficiaries on the death of the life tenant, who holds a life estate. The life tenant cannot sell, mortgage, or otherwise deal with the property during life without the written consent of the remainder beneficiaries.
  2. Washington TOD Deed Form – Also known as a transfer-on-death deed, this deed form passes property to the owner’s beneficiaries at death without giving up control during the owner’s life. The owner can revoke or change the beneficiary designation or freely sell or deal with the property.

Although a quit claim deed is legally distinct from a life estate deed, the same instrument can be both. If the deed creates a life estate but conveys the property without a warranty of title, the deed may be both a life estate deed and a quit claim deed.

Common Uses of Quitclaim Deeds

A Washington quitclaim deed form is a very popular tool for transfers of Washington real estate without consideration (gifts of property). They are often used to transfer property between parties with a family connection or other close relationship to one another. Common examples include:

  • Removing an ex-spouse from title to property after a divorce;
  • Adding a new spouse to title to the property after a marriage;
  • Adding children or other family members to the property with rights of survivorship to avoid probate; and
  • Transferring property to a living trust or LLC that is owned or controlled by the grantor.

Quitclaim deeds are versatile tools that can be used in many other scenarios where the grantor does not wish to be legally responsible for title issues.

How to Create a Washington Quitclaim Deed

A Washington quit claim deed form is authorized by statute. RCW 64.04.050 includes specific language necessary to create a valid quit claim deed. It is important to get this language—as well as the deed title and any related warranty language—exactly right. Even a single word of difference can change the warranty or create an ambiguity in the deed that requires costly litigation to resolve.

In addition to meeting the specific requirements that apply to quit claim deed forms, the deed must also meet the requirements that apply more generally to other Washington 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.

Washington law is very specific about requirements for validity and recording. A deed prepared for use in another state—or, perhaps worse, a generic online fill-in-the-blank form—may not meet Washington requirements. Each deed created by our deed preparation service was attorney-designed to meet the requirements of Washington law and be eligible for recording in all Washington counties.