A Florida quitclaim deed is a legal document transferring property to someone else without warranties of title. The person receiving the property is called a grantee. A quitclaim deed allows you to add family members onto the property title, transfer property to an LLC or living trust, or remove an ex-spouse from ownership after a divorce.
Requirements for a Quitclaim Deed
To be valid in Florida, quitclaim deeds must follow the requirements of Florida law. The quitclaim deed must:
- Identify the current owner (grantor) and person receiving the property (grantee).
- State the legal consideration for the property.
- Provide a legal description of the property.
- Be signed by the grantor with two witnesses and a notary.
How to File a Quitclaim Deed
There are three steps to transferring property using a quitclaim deed in Florida:
- Enter the required information on the deed form.
- Sign the deed with two witnesses and a notary.
- Record the deed with the county.
In Florida, quitclaim deeds must have the name and address of both the grantor and the grantee. Once the information is correctly entered on the quit claim deed form, the grantor signs the deed at the bottom above their printed name. If the property is the grantor’s homestead, and the grantor is married, both the grantor and their spouse must sign the deed even if the property is legally titled in only the grantor’s name. The grantor’s signature must be witnessed and notarized in order to be recorded in the public record.
Then, the grantee delivers the signed, witnessed, and notarized quitclaim deed to the county comptroller’s office for the county where the property is located for recording. The comptroller’s office will charge you a small fee for the recording. However, expect a larger fee and transfer taxes if there is a mortgage on the property.
The comptroller’s office records the deed into the county’s official records. The county will return the original deed to the grantee. The recording of the deed gives public notice of the change of ownership, and the recording establishes the transfer in the official chain of title. An uninterrupted chain of title is required to insure title to a subsequent purchaser or mortgage lender.
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Advantages of a Quitclaim Deed
In Florida, a quitclaim deed lets you transfer property to another person, company, or trust. The benefits of a quitclaim deed:
- Straightforward to prepare.
- Less expensive than traditional warranty deeds.
- Can clear up a defect in the chain of title.
- Ideal for transferring property between family members, such as from parents to children or between spouses after a divorce.
- Can quickly transfer property to a trust or other legal entity.
Disadvantages of a Quitclaim Deed
Disadvantages to quitclaim deeds in Florida include:
- Grantee has no protection against title defects or claims by third parties.
- Generally not used for selling property to strangers since the buyer would want a guarantee that the seller has a good title.
- Can lead to surprises down the road if there are unknown claims or liens on the property.
- Can be more difficult to get title insurance.
Despite the disadvantages, people often use quitclaim deeds in Florida as a simple way to transfer property to a related person or company.
Adding a Name to a Deed in Florida
A deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of real property from one party to another. It provides evidence of ownership and describes the specific property being transferred.
Here are the five steps to adding a name to a deedin Florida:
- Research Deed Restrictions: Check for any judgment liens or existing mortgages.
- Draft a New Deed: Prepare a new deed, whether a quitclaim deed, lady bird deed, or warranty deed, with the additional name.
- Notarize the Deed: The current owners must sign the new deed before a notary public.
- Record the Deed: File the newly executed deed with the county recorder’s office.
- Confirm Recording: After filing, ensure the deed has been recorded and obtain an official copy for your records.
Reasons for Adding a Name to a Deed
There are various reasons why someone might want to add a name to a deed.
Adding a name to a deed can be a simple way to ensure desired inheritance of your property.
For example, if you add someone else to your deed as joint tenants with right of survivorship, then upon the death of one owner, the surviving person will own the entire property.
Or, you can use a lady bird deed to have the property transfer on death to designated beneficiaries without probate.
In Florida, married couples can own property as tenants by entireties, which fully exempts the property against creditors of either spouse alone.
Sometimes people come into a marriage with separate property. Newly married couples can add their spouse to their separate property to own the property jointly.
Types of Deeds in Florida
In Florida, you can add a name to a deed by using a quitclaim deed, lady bird deed, or warranty deed. However, in most cases the quitclaim deed will be the appropriate one to use.
A quitclaim deed is the simplest way to add a name to an existing deed in Florida. The quitclaim deed transfers a property interest to another person without making guarantees of title. No title search is involved.
The defining feature of a quitclaim deed is that it does not include guarantees or warranties of title. The quality of title that the grantee receives depends upon the title in the hands of the grantor. If the grantor has good and marketable legal title to a property, free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, then the Florida quitclaim deed will transfer good and marketable title to the grantee. However, if the grantor owns a property with defects in the chain of title or liens on the property, then the quitclaim deed conveys the same title problems to the grantee.
Lady Bird Deed
A lady bird deed is a special type of deed that allows you to keep ownership and control of your property during your lifetime, but have the property transfer immediately upon your death without probate to beneficiaries.
For some people, their only major asset is their primary residence. A lady bird deed is the easiest way to transfer the home upon death—even easier than a will or a trust.
A quitclaim deed transfers property immediately once it is executed and delivered to the grantee. On the other hand, a lady bird deed transfers property to a beneficiary upon the death of the property owner.
A warranty deed is the type of deed typically used in arms-length real estate sales to unrelated buyers. The warranty deed guarantees clear and marketable title to the property being sold. The grantor/seller is personally liable for title defects and liens that are discovered post-transfer by warranty deed. Title insurance companies will sell insurance for warranty deeds after the insurance company has examined the recorded chain of title.
Both a Florida quitclaim deed and a warranty deed transfer an ownership interest in property to someone else. Unlike a warranty deed, a quitclaim deed does not provide any guarantees, or warranty, that the grantee is getting clear and marketable title to the property.
Quitclaim deeds are most often used to transfer property to one’s family or a family LLC or estate planning trust. These transfers are typically for no consideration, and the recipient family member, or family-owned business, is less concerned about title issues. Transfer of real estate between unrelated people should almost never be done via quitclaim deed.
Quitclaim Deed After Divorce
A Florida quitclaim deed is often used to transfer property after a divorce pursuant to a marital settlement agreement or divorce judgment. The quitclaim deed transfers all interests that one spouse has in the property to the other spouse, and the transferring spouse complies with the terms of the divorce order or agreement.
Regardless of which spouse prepares the deed, only the transferring spouse must sign the deed. The receiving spouse does not need to sign the deed.
Tip: County recording fees for quitclaim deeds are often less if being transferred pursuant to a divorce judgment.
Important: Make sure the quitclaim deed is properly drafted. Just because the county accepts your document for recording does not mean that the county reviews the deed for legal sufficiency.
Can You Transfer Property with a Quitclaim Deed if You Have a Mortgage?
You can use a quitclaim deed in Florida even if the property is encumbered by a mortgage. The quitclaim deed does alter or transfer the mortgage and does not change personal liability to pay the mortgage note.
In other words, the grantor will still be responsible personally to pay the mortgage lender after transferring the property. Technically, the lender could call, or accelerate, the entire loan due if they discover that the grantor has transferred the property without first paying off the mortgage.
This rarely occurs in practice. Lenders have no reason to call the loan due after a quitclaim transfer so long as the new owner continues making timely mortgage payments. Even if a loan were called, the grantee can refinance the debt or get their own loan to pay off the original mortgage debt.
Making a Quitclaim Deed After Death
You cannot write a quitclaim deed to become effective after your death. Once you fully execute and deliver a quitclaim deed, the intended transfer of title is immediate (although it still needs to be recorded).
Another type of deed, called a lady bird deed, can be drafted to take effect as an after-death transfer. A lady bird deed provides that the grantor keeps the property during the grantor’s lifetime and that legal title transfers automatically to a grantee upon the owner’s death.
Quitclaim Deed FAQs
How does a quit claim deed work in Florida?
A Florida quitclaim deed is a legal document that transfers whatever title you have in real property to someone else. With a quitclaim deed, you don’t provide any warranty that you are conveying clear and marketable title. You must sign the deed with two witnesses and a notary. Then, the quitclaim deed is recorded in the county public records.
Why would someone do a quit claim deed?
What are the disadvantages of a quit claim deed?
The disadvantage of a quit claim deed is that it lacks guarantees that come with a warranty deed. An unrelated buyer paying money for a property should never accept a quitclaim deed.
Does a quitclaim deed give you ownership?
A quitclaim deed transfers ownership of the property if the person signing the quitclaim deed has good title to the property. The quitclaim deed cannot transfer any greater title or interest than the grantor has prior to transfer. If there are any title issues when the grantor owns the property, the grantee will have those same issues.
Can you sell your house with just a quit claim deed?
While technically a property owner could sell their house with a quit claim deed, it almost never happens. A title company and lender will insist on the use of a warranty deed.
Is there a transfer tax on a quitclaim deed in Florida?
Yes, the county will charge a transfer tax for a quitclaim deed based on the amount of consideration paid for the property. If there is a mortgage on the property, the transfer tax will be based on the amount still owed on the mortgage.
How much does it cost to get a quitclaim deed?
It costs about $400 to get a quitclaim deed from an attorney in Florida.