What Is a Wyoming Quitclaim Deed Form?
A property owner transfers an interest in Wyoming real estate by recording a signed, notarized deed.1 A Wyoming quitclaim deed is a type of deed that transfers all of the signer’s rights and title in the property with no warranty of title.2 The transferee (or grantee) receives whatever interest the transferor (or grantor) can legally convey.3 The transferor, though, makes no representation about whether the deed will transfer a clear title or any genuine ownership interest in the property.
What Is Warranty of Title?
Warranty of title is a guarantee included with some deeds. A property owner who transfers real estate with warranty of title promises that the new owner will receive legal ownership of the property. The property’s title is guaranteed to be free of undisclosed liens, third-party claims, and any other undisclosed problems.4
Complete warranty of title under Wyoming law consists of four formal promises—or covenants of title. The current owner signing the deed promises that:
- The owner holds good title and has the right to transfer the property.
- No encumbrances—such as liens, mortgages, assessments, or delinquent property taxes—impair the property’s title.
- The new owner’s possession of the property will not be disturbed by third-party claims.
- The current owner will defend the property’s title against any claims made by third parties.5
How Does Warranty of Title Protect the New Owner?
The new owner who receives property with warranty of title is protected—at least in part—against problems with the property’s title. If a problem emerges, the new owner can recover the resulting financial damages from the prior owner who provided the warranty. A new owner who discovers an undisclosed lien, for example, can sue the prior owner for breach of covenant and, if successful, recover the cost of removing the lien.6
Potential title problems covered by warranty of title also include:
- Outstanding HOA assessments or property taxes;
- Decreased property value or marketability caused by errors in prior deeds or earlier owners’ estates; and
- Boundary disputes and third-party claims of superior title to the property.7
Warranty of Title and Wyoming Quitclaim Deeds
A defining characteristic of Wyoming quitclaims deeds is that they include no warranty of title. A quitclaim deed transfers whatever ownership interest (if any) the signer can transfer with no guaranty that the signer has any actual rights or title to the property. The new owner takes as-is what the current owner has the power to give.
A transferor’s use of a quitclaim deed does not mean that there are in fact problems with the property’s title. A quitclaim deed is capable of conveying as complete an interest as a deed with warranty of title.8 A Wyoming quitclaim deed just offers no protection if the transferor does not own the property or if title issues come up in the future.
Other Names for a Wyoming Quitclaim Deed Form
The term quitclaim deed may also be written as quit claim deed or quit-claim deed. A quitclaim deed is sometimes called a quitclaim, and the word quitclaim is also a verb—in which case it means to transfer ownership with no covenants or warranty of title.9
Other states have different names for deeds that function like Wyoming quitclaim deeds:
- Release deed. Release deeds are usually deeds with no warranty that release the signer’s interest to a co-owner—such as deeds dividing marital property after a divorce.10
- Deed without warranty or no-warranty deed. A deed without warranty or no-warranty deed works like a quitclaim deed in states with laws that limit the use of quitclaim deeds.
- Quitclaim deed without covenants. A few states’ real estate laws imply specific covenants of title in quitclaim deeds unless a deed says clearly that there are no covenants. A quitclaim deed without covenants is designed to avoid covenants that would otherwise be implied by law.11
How Do Wyoming Quitclaim Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
By omitting covenants or warranty of title, Wyoming quitclaim deeds place the risk of title issues on the new owner. The new owner has no right to sue the prior owner for breach of warranty if title problems arise because the prior owner gave no warranty. Wyoming law allows other types of deeds that provide complete or partial warranty of title—keeping all or some title-related risk with the person transferring the property.
Wyoming Quitclaim Deed vs. Warranty Deed
A Wyoming warranty deed form—also called a general warranty deed—transfers real estate to the new owner with a complete warranty of title—also called a general warranty.12 A deed that uses Wyoming’s statutory form for warranty deeds includes all four covenants of warranty listed above.13 The current owner guarantees a good, clear title—subject only to exclusions expressly identified in the deed.
While the new owner bears all risk of title problems under a quitclaim deed, the current owner signing a warranty deed retains all risk of title problems rooted any time in the property’s chain of title up to the date of the deed. The new owner can sue for breach of warranty to recover financial loss caused by a title problem—regardless of when the events leading to the problem occurred.14
Wyoming Quitclaim Deed vs. Special Warranty Deed
A Wyoming special warranty deed—sometimes called a limited warranty deed—transfers real estate to the new owner with a limited warranty of title (or special warranty).15 A deed that uses Wyoming’s statutory form for special warranty deeds includes two covenants of title from the current owner:16
- The property is free from encumbrances—such as liens, mortgages, assessments, or tax claims—caused by anything the current owner did or failed to do.
- The current owner promises to defend the new owner’s title against any third-party claims based on events that occurred while the current owner held title.
A special warranty deed amounts to a compromise between a quitclaim deed and a warranty deed. Both parties to a special warranty deed share some risk of title problems—depending on when a specific issue arose. The new owner can sue for breach of warranty to recover for financial loss caused by title problems—but only if the problem that caused the loss arose while the current owner owned the property.
Attorney Practice Note: Wyoming law recognizes another deed form called a bargain-and-sale deed or deed of bargain and sale that works like a quitclaim deed for most practical purposes.17 (“A deed of quitclaim . . . shall be sufficient to pass all the estate which the grantor could lawfully convey by deed of bargain and sale.”) The difference between the two deeds is conceptual. A quitclaim deed transfers the current owner’s entire interest in the property, while a bargain-and-sale deed transfers the property itself—typically without covenants of title.18 Bargain and sale deeds are rarely used to transfer Wyoming real estate.
Title Insurance and Wyoming Quitclaim Deeds
A new owner who receives property through a quitclaim deed receives no guarantee that the title is valid or clear. For these reasons, the owner risks financial loss if title problems arise. Buying title insurance lets a property owner transfer that risk to an insurance company.
Title insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection against problems with a property’s title. An owner, lienholder, or other interested person who buys title insurance pays a premium—usually a single payment due when the policy is issued. In return, the insurance company agrees to pay the insured person if a covered title problem arises.19 A title insurance policy can be a good way to reduce the long-term risk of taking title through a quitclaim deed.
Quitclaim Deeds and Other Wyoming Deeds Used in Estate Planning
Wyoming quitclaim deeds, warranty deeds, and special warranty deeds transfer property during the owner’s life and are defined by the covenants of title (if any) they offer. The estate-planning deeds Wyoming recognizes—by contrast—transfer title when the owner dies and have names based on how the deed works.
Wyoming law recognizes three types of deeds used in estate planning. Each one has the advantage of keeping property out of probate.
Wyoming Transfer-on-Death Deed
A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed—or TOD deed—keeps complete title with the owner for life, then passes title at the owner’s death to a beneficiary named in the TOD deed.20 TOD deeds must be recorded while the owner is living but have no legal effects until the owner dies.21 The owner can amend or revoke the TOD deed or sell the property at any point during life.22
Wyoming Life Estate Deed
A Wyoming life estate deed creates two distinct interests in the same real estate. The life estate—an interest by a life tenant—provides ownership for the rest of the life tenant’s life. The remainder—which is held by a remainderman or beneficiary—provides the right to future ownership when the life tenant dies. Life estate deeds can transfer property with or without covenants of title, so a life estate deed can also be a quitclaim deed.
The most important distinction between a life estate deed and a TOD deed is that a life estate deed’s remainder interest vests in the beneficiary while the life tenant is still living. As a result, the life tenant can only transfer the life estate—and cannot transfer complete title to the property—unless the beneficiary also signs the deed.23
Wyoming Survivorship Deed
A Wyoming survivorship deed transfers property to two or more co-owners who jointly hold title with a right of survivorship. A survivorship deed avoids probate because when a co-owner dies, the surviving co-owner automatically receives the deceased co-owner’s interest. The survivor need only update the land records by recording a survivorship affidavit with a certified copy of the death certificate.24
The name survivorship deed is not typically used as a deed’s title. Wyoming deeds transferring property to joint tenants or tenants by the entirety are typically titled Quitclaim Deed, Warranty Deed, or Special Warranty Deed. It depends on the warranty of title the deed provides to the new co-owners.
Common Uses of Wyoming Quitclaim Deed Forms
The most common uses for Wyoming quitclaim deeds are transferring real estate for no consideration (i.e., for no value provided in return) and retitling property without changing its actual possession or control. A Wyoming property owner might use a quitclaim deed to do any of the following:
- Create a right of survivorship. A Wyoming quitclaim deed can create a right of survivorship by transferring real estate owned by one person to the owner and another person as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety.26
- Transfer property to a trust. A quitclaim deed can transfer legal title to a living trust created as part of the owner’s estate plan.27
- Transfer property between a business entity and its owner(s). A quitclaim deed can transfer property to or from business entities—such as LLCs or corporations—and their owners.28
- Transfer property as a gift. A quitclaim deed can transfer property as a gift to a family member who provides no payment for the transfer.
- Divide marital property in a divorce. A quitclaim deed can transfer marital property from divorced former spouses to one of the ex-spouses due to a divorce decree or asset distribution agreement.
Wyoming quitclaim deeds can transfer real estate to a buyer for fair market value—though arms-length purchases more often use warranty and special warranty deeds.
How to Create a Wyoming Quitclaim Deed
A Wyoming quitclaim deed must be distinguishable as a quitclaim deed—with no express covenants or language suggesting the owner is providing warranty of title. Every Wyoming deed, including quitclaim deeds, must satisfy Wyoming’s general requirements for deeds transferring Wyoming real estate
Wyoming Quitclaim Deed Requirements
The Wyoming Legislature provides a statutory form language for quitclaim deeds that—when incorporated within a deed that otherwise complies with Wyoming law— transfers all rights and title the current owner holds in the property with no warranty of title.29 Wyoming deeds include no covenants of title unless a deed uses a statutory warranty deed form or has covenants expressly written in the deed.30
Wyoming’s statutory quitclaim deed form is titled Quitclaim Deed and includes the following transfer language (revised in part for clarity):
Grantor (current owner’s name and address) for the consideration of (amount paid) conveys and quitclaims to (new owner’s name and address) all interest in the following described real estate, (legal description of property) situate in the county of …., in the state of Wyoming.31
The statutory form is optional, and valid quitclaim deeds can—and often do—use wording that differs from the form in whole or in part. For example, Wyoming quitclaim deeds typically recite nominal consideration—such as “for ten dollars, cash in hand”—rather than the actual purchase price.
Wyoming General Deed Requirements
The statutory quitclaim deed language alone is insufficient to create a valid, recordable Wyoming deed. Quitclaim deeds—like other deed types—must satisfy Wyoming’s general rules for deeds. Wyoming law sets requirements for formatting, necessary information, and signing. A Wyoming quitclaim deed must, among other things:
- Include a top margin of at least three inches on the deed’s first page;32
- Identify the party names and the new owner’s mailing address;33
- Include an accurate legal description of the property;34
- If the property is the owner’s homestead, waive the owner’s homestead rights; and35
- Include the owner’s original, notarized signature.36
Selecting a Wyoming Quitclaim Deed Form
Each state’s real estate laws are a little different. A Wyoming quitclaim deed form must meet Wyoming law and contain all language needed for a valid transfer with no warranty of title. A deed based on another state’s real estate laws may not be recordable in Wyoming or may fail to make a valid legal transfer.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-106.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-104.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-105.
- See Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-103.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-103.
- Patel v. Khan, 970 P.2d 836 (Wyo. 1998).
- See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 26-5-109.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-106.
- See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-104 (“grantor . . . conveys and quitclaims to grantee all interest in the . . . real estate”), Dudley v. Franklin, 983 P.2d 1223 (Wyo. 1999).
- See, e.g., Whitt v. Whitt, No. 02-CA-93 (Ohio Ct. App., 2003); Henningsen v. Stromberg, 221 P.2d 438 (Mont. 1950)
- See, e.g., S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-11, 33 Maine Rev. Stat. § 765.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-102.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-103.
- See Patel v. Khan, 970 P.2d 836 (Wyo. 1998).
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-136.
- Wyo. Stat. §§ 34-2-137(a)(ii)(A) and (a)(ii)(B).
- See Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-106
- Tendolle v. Eureka Oil Syndicate, 268 P. 185 (Wyo. 1928).
- Wyo. Stat. § 26-5-109.
- Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a).
- Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(e).
- Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(f) and (h).
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-111.
- Wyo. Stat. § 2-9-102.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-140.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-140.
- See Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-122.
- See Wyo. Stat. § 17-29-407.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-105.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-135.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-104.
- See Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-119(a).
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-1-119(a).
- See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. §§ 34-2-102; 34-2-104; 34-2-136.
- Wyo. Stat. § 34-2-121.
- Wyo. Stat. §§ 34-1-119(a); 34-1-113.