Quit Claim Deed or Quiet Title Action? Does it matter?

Quit Claim Deed vs Quiet Title Action

Is there a difference? And, does it matter?

We get a lot of calls about quit claim deeds and quiet title actions. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are NOT the same.

So let’s look at what these terms mean and how they are different from each other.

Quit Claim Deed Quiet Title Action
A quit claim deed is a way to GIVE your interest to somebody else (or for someone else to GIVE his or her interest to you).

It’s quick, easy, fairly inexpensive, and very convenient when it is the right tool to use.

 

May also be called: quitclaims, quit claim deeds, quickclaims, and quick claim deeds.

A quiet title action is a way to REMOVE somebody else’s interest from your property.

This is a formal lawsuit. It costs more money and takes longer than a quit claim deed.

 

May also be called: action to quiet title, title confirmation, petition to confirm title, and petition to quiet title.

Which one applies to my situation?

Every situation is different, so you will need to consult with your real estate attorney about the best option for you.

Here is a common situation to illustrate the differences between quit claim deeds and quiet title actions:

Example: After a divorce.

John and Mary have divorced. John has “won” the house in the divorce. The judge may have said that John gets the house, but that doesn’t actually remove Mary’s ownership interest in this property. John needs to take further action to remove Mary’s ownership.

Let’s see how these two methods might apply in this situation:

Plan A: Quit Claim Deed

A quitclaim deed is quick and easy, and a great way to get the job done. John’s real estate lawyer will draft a quitclaim deed, which John sends to Mary. Mary signs the deed in front of a notary and sends it back to John. John’s lawyer records the signed deed with the county land records. Done. Mary no longer has any ownership interest in the property because she has CONVEYED her interest to John.

Plan B: Quiet Title Action

But what happens if Mary disappears after the divorce, so John cannot get her to sign a quitclaim deed? Now, John must call up his real estate lawyer and hire her to pursue a quiet title action to REMOVE Mary’s ownership interest from the house.

John’s real estate attorney will likely file a formal lawsuit against Mary, asking the judge to remove Mary’s ownership interest from the property. There are rules and statutes to follow and notice requirements to satisfy. The process often takes four or five months, but the length of time can vary tremendously depending upon the facts of the case.

In the end, John will end up with a court order signed by the judge that says Mary no longer has any ownership interest in the property. This order will be recorded in the county land records, just like a deed.

Different Methods, Similar Result

Both methods have a similar end result – Mary’s interest is removed from the property. However, because an action for quiet title is a formal lawsuit, it will cost significantly more and take significantly longer than a simple quitclaim deed.

Not sure what to do?

Both Quitclaim Deeds and Quiet Title Actions are used in many situations beside divorce. If you need help conveying your interest in property to somebody else or if you need help removing somebody else’s interest in your property, contact your local real estate attorney. Do not worry if you cannot remember the correct term, or you are not sure which option is right for your situation. Your real estate attorney will advise you on the best course of action, and will handle all the details.

If you own property in Arkansas and need legal assistance, please contact The Hardin Law Firm, PLC.  For our out-of-state clients, we are available via phone, fax, and email, to assist you with your real estate needs.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

 Last updated: June 13, 2016 at 18:59 pm