Preparing, executing, and filing a quit claim deed in Florida. It is a relatively simple process.
Basic deed terminology
To understand real estate deeds, it is necessary to know a few legal terms:
- Deed. A legal document that transfers ownership of real property
- Grantor. A person who transfers ownership of his or her interest in real property
- Grantee. A person to whom an interest in real property is transferred
What is a quit claim deed?
A quit claim deed transfers title to real estate without providing any guaranty of the grantor's title.
In essence, a quit claim deed says: “I am giving you whatever interest I may have in this property, but I'm not promising that I have any such interest."
With a quit claim deed, if it turns out that the grantor does not have any interest in the property, the grantee will not be able to sue the grantor.
Quit claim deeds are usually used when the grantee is certain of the grantor's ownership; such as when transfers are made between family members, between an individual and a trust, or from a business owner to the business entity.
Quit claim deeds are also often used to transfer title to property in connection with a divorce, in order to get one of the spouse's names off of the title.
In the typical transaction between sellers and buyers who don't know each other, a warranty deed is used. A warranty deed includes a provision that guarantees the grantee that the grantor has legal title to the property.
If it turns out that the grantor does not have title, the grantee can sue the grantor. Most real estate transactions involving a warranty deed will also have title insurance.
Florida quit claim deed requirements
The basic requirements for a quit claim deed in Florida (as in other states), are as follows:
The legal names of the parties
The quit claim deed needs to include the full legal name of both the grantor(s) and the grantee(s).
For a grantor, this should be the name as it appeared on the deed when the grantor obtained title. For the grantee, this should be the full legal name of the grantee.
For example, if the grantee's legal name is “Frederick Johnson," the deed should not have the name “Fred Johnson."
A description of the property being transferred
Every parcel of property has what is called its legal description. This is usually most easily found in the deed that transferred the property to the grantor.
For the sake of clarity, it is also a good idea to add the street address of the property, and the property “folio" number used by the property appraiser.
Proper execution of the document
Florida law requires that the grantor must sign the deed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. The witnesses must also sign in the presence of the notary.
Delivery of the deed to the grantee
Technically, a deed, whether quit claim or warranty, must be delivered to the grantee. If the grantor executes a deed and keeps it in his or her safe deposit box or desk drawer, it is not an effective transfer of the property. Handing it to the grantee, or filing it with the clerk, is an effective transfer.
Filing with the clerk
A quit claim deed should be filed with the clerk of court in the county where the property is located. This will involve taking the deed to the clerk's office and paying the required filing fee (typically about $10 for a one-page quit claim deed).