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Kevin O'Flaherty

In order to transfer an ownership interest in a piece of real property, the grantor will need to execute a deed. There are several types of deeds that can be used in Illinois. The most frequent deed that is used is a Quit Claim Deed.

What Is a Quit Claim Deed?

This legal document transfers property ownership but without warranties of title. Unlike a general warranty deed, an Illinois quit claim deed does not assure a free and clear title. It provides no guarantees regarding the validity of the property’s title. This could potentially mean that the grantor, or the person transferring the property, might not have a valid ownership interest.

Despite this risk, quit claim deeds remain useful. They have basic requirements:

  • A legal description of the property
  • Names of the transferor and recipient
  • The date
  • Notarized signatures

Quit claim deeds are incredibly useful in certain scenarios, as a quitclaim deed makes property transfers between family members, clarifying ownership in cases of inherited property, changing title holding methods, and settling property disputes in divorce cases much simpler.

Let’s examine how quit claim deeds function in these particular scenarios.

Divorce and Property Settlement

During the emotionally challenging time of a divorce, quit claim deeds can simplify property settlements. In Illinois, quit claim deeds facilitate the transfer of property ownership from one spouse to another without the need for a title search. They play an instrumental role in the division of marital assets, including the transfer of the marital home.

A court may order the party relinquishing interest in the marital home to execute a quit claim deed. This approach enables a swift and efficient transfer and is less formal than a warranty deed. Additionally, it’s recommended that the spouse acquiring the property interest executes the quit claim deed before finalizing the divorce. This ensures compliance with the marital settlement agreement and assists in refinancing matters.

Family Transfers and Estate Planning

Family transfers and estate planning are other scenarios where quit claim deeds shine in Illinois. They are commonly used for property transfers between close family members or trusted friends, eliminating the need for an expensive title search. When it comes to inherited property, quit claim deeds simplify the process by relinquishing ownership rights, making it easier for beneficiaries.

Quit claim deeds can also circumvent the complexity and delays of probate, a legal process to determine the validity of a will. The simplicity of a quit claim deed facilitates estate planning by enabling straightforward property transfers.

What Are the Requirements of a Valid Quit Claim Deed?

A Quit Claim Deed is required to clearly identify the grantor and grantee, the address of the property being transferred, a legal description of the property, the manner in which the grantee is taking title, a notarized signature of the grantor, and the name and address of the party that has prepared the deed. The deed may also require a grantor/grantee statement to be effective.

Is the Transfer of Interest Effective When the Quit Claim Deed is Signed?

The deed is recordable upon signature by the grantor, but the transfer is not effective until the Quit Claim Deed is recorded with the Recorder of Deeds for the county which the property is located in.

Can I Wait to Record My Quit Claim Deed?

Yes, you can wait to record a deed however that is a risky decision. Your interest in the property will not be recognized until the deed is recorded. It can also create a situation where you lose interest in the property due to subsequent transfers.

What Happens if Someone Records a Separate Quit Claim Deed Before I Record Mine?

If you decide to hold off on recording your deed to the property and someone records a separate effective deed you may lose your interest in the property.The grantor can only convey their ownership interest one time. Once that conveyance is recorded the grantor cannot transfer the interest again. This situation is rare but in some instances a grantor may convey their interest in multiple deeds and generally the first to record their deed will be the party that owns the interest moving forward.

What is the Recording Process?

Once you have received a full executed deed, it needs to betaken or delivered to the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the property is located. There is a fee associated with recording the deed as well. In certain counties and townships you may also need to pay for transfer stamps unless the property is otherwise exempt.

Alternatives to Quit Claim Deeds in Illinois

If a quit claim deed doesn’t seem like the right fit for your circumstances, fear not. There are viable alternatives to consider in Illinois. These include general warranty deeds, which provide full title protection, and special warranty deeds, which offer limited title protection.

Let’s discuss these alternatives further.

General Warranty Deed

A general warranty deed is a legal document used for the transfer of real estate, providing full protection against title defects. This means that the property is guaranteed to be free from any defects or encumbrances across its entire ownership history. All title-related risk is placed on the current owner who provides the warranty in a general warranty deed.

This guarantee offers a stronger protection for the buyer compared to a quit claim deed.

Special Warranty Deed

A special warranty deed in Illinois offers a more limited warranty of title. It only covers the period during which the grantor owned the property. Special warranty deeds are commonly utilized for commercial transactions and in transfers involving multi-unit residential properties. This type of deed is often preferred when transferring property from a trustee or business to avoid the liabilities associated with issues that may have arisen before the current owner’s period of ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a spouse have the right to property after signing a quit claim deed in Illinois?

In Illinois, once a quit claim deed is signed, the party transferring their rights will have no claim to the home, and the receiving spouse owns the property entirely. It's important to review prior deeds or have an attorney do so to ensure there are no defects in the title.

What is a quit claim deed commonly used to do?

A quit claim deed is commonly used to transfer property between family members, add or remove someone from a property title, or remedy a minor issue with the title, such as an error in the address or name.

How much does it cost to file a quit claim deed in Illinois?

Filing a quit claim deed in Illinois costs $150, or $160 if paid by credit card. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the individual to obtain transfer stamps and record the deed with the County Recorder.

When are quit claim deeds typically used in Illinois?

Quit claim deeds are typically used in Illinois for property transfers between close family members, clarifying ownership, changing title holding methods, and settling property disputes in divorce cases. These deeds provide a quick and simple way to transfer property ownership.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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