Using a Quitclaim Deed in Massachusetts
You’ve probably heard about how you could use a legal instrument called a quitclaim to quit your rights to real property to your spouse, children, siblings, a business corporation, or a living trust. But do you know what it is or how it works?
Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you. This article is dedicated to you. In it, we not only look at its definition and uses but also the statutory requirements you need to meet for its validity.
First thing first: what is a quitclaim deed?
A quitclaim deed refers to a legal instrument that facilitates the conveyance of your rights in real property from a grantor to a grantee. This document is also called a quitclaim, a non-warranty deed, or a quitclaim deed form. The other term used to describe it, albeit used mistakenly, is the quick claim deed.
It should be noted that the conveyance of rights in the real property is without any warranties on the title, and the grantor transfers their rights to the property “as-is.” Being a deed without any warranties, the grantee might be out of luck and without any legal recourse should the grantor turn out to be an illegal owner of the property or if it later turns out that the issued title had defects.
Since a grantee has no (or little) legal protection, it is recommended that you use the deed only to facilitate the transfers of title between people who know and trust each other.
Quitclaims and Mortgage/ Divorce
One of the most common uses of the quitclaim is to transfer property to a family member/ spouse. When the transfer involves mortgaged property (say you bought property together but are now divorcing and one spouse wishes to give up their interests in the property), it should be noted that the grantor and the grantee will both remain responsible for the mortgage debt on the house. The reason for this is that the quitclaim’s only function is to transfer the property’s ownership. So, if the grantor is the named owner in the mortgage plan, the new owner of the property will have the title, and the grantor is left to service the loan.
In case of a divorce, the only way for you to remove your liability for the mortgage loan would involve getting a release document directly from the lender. A quitclaim deed in Massachusetts does not change your liability status over the property. Regarding the release from mortgage liability, you should know that the lender will need an assurance that your spouse will solely refinance the mortgage. Otherwise, the joint mortgage note stands.
Don’t forget that even if the divorce judgment gives your spouse full liability for mortgage debt, if your name is not deleted from the note, the lender will still be on your back for repayments.
Conditions for the execution of the quitclaim deed in Massachusetts
According to the statutory provisions of chapters 183 and 184, quitclaims are acceptable instruments for real estate conveyances. The use of the quitclaim is, however, limited to property transfers without any warranties or covenants on the title.
To get started, you should first download a printable PDF version of the free deed form, the free Massachusetts quitclaim deed form. This form serves as your template, guiding you on what you need to enter in the deed for its validity.
The important details required in the deed include:
The deed should have the full legal name and the mailing addresses, as well as the marital statuses of both the grantor and the grantee.
The document should also an outline of how the grantee will hold the residential property. This is a requirement for all residential property transfers, and the state of Massachusetts recognizes three primary methods through which grantees can hold tenancies – this is through joint tenancy, a tenancy in common, and tenancy by entirety. When granting ownership for real estate to at least two individuals, the vesting presumed is a tenancy in common, regardless of the marital status of the parties involved, and unless the deed expresses otherwise.
The deed should also have the full legal description of the property or the parcel of land
The total amount of the consideration, if any, should be indicated in the deed. This is an important requirement to meet because the excise tax/ stamp tax, or the transfer tax is calculated based on the consideration paid for the property.
The deed should have a section to be filled by the preparer. This section is the “Prepared By” section. While the preparer of the document is often the grantor, this section is important when someone other than the grantor prepares it. This section requires the full name and mailing address of the preparer.
The next section to be filled is the “After Recording Return To” section. This section should have the actual mailing address of the recipient.
Once the deed is signed by the grantor and the grantee in the presence of the notary public (the name of both parties should be printed or typed immediately below the signatures), it should be recorded with the local county office in charge of public records – the County Registry of Deeds Office.
Since some counties are split into two or even three districts, you need to ensure that you record your deed with the right recording district.
When recording a quitclaim deed for land, you must submit the land’s deed to the Registry District of the Land Court, and include the relevant forms and fees.
Are you ready to transfer that residential property to your spouse, trust, or children? Whether you are in Boston, Springfield, Worcester, Cambridge, Lowell, Salem, Plymouth or any other city in Massachusetts, you can download our free quitclaim deed form here, to get started.