Quitclaim deeds are legal tools for co-owners of a house to reassign full ownership of their property to only one of them. Because quitclaim deeds are frequently used between spouses, though, it’s essential for the parties to be fully away what every one of them is losing or gaining in terms of common law dower rights which will be automatically negated because of submitting the quitclaim.
If co-owners of a property, often a husband and wife, wish to transfer ownership of the house to just one of them, they do this by submitting a quitclaim deed. This deed is simply a valid, notarized statement that lists one of the co-owners as the”grantor” and another as the”grantee.” Additionally, it lists the property under states and question whether a financial transaction took place in exchange for the shift in ownership.
Colonial America brought with it a practice from England known as”dower rights.” Property holders were typically men. Property ownership at a man’s death was transferred to his eldest surviving son or, if there was no son, to his eldest daughter’s husband. Dower rights promised that upon her husband’s departure she’d still continue to have the right to reside in the house in which she was living, or that she’d benefit financially from the property’s sale so she’d have any income to live on. In early America, dower rights equates to a one-third interest in the house and any income generated from it. What this meant was that if a husband died and there were claims by others against the house to settle his debts, any property he held could not be foreclosed or forced into sale while his widow still lived, because she’d unassailable dower rights in the house. Dower rights persist America to the day, even though they’re also now applied to widowers as well as widows. These rights are strong enough that mortgage lenders won’t grant a property loan to one spouse solely unless the non-owner spouse signs away their dower rights. The creditor doesn’t wish to maintain the position, if it need to foreclose on the house, to need to wait to settle it because that the non-owner spouse steps forward and claims dower rights.
Releasing Dower Rights
In the case of a quitclaim deed association involving two spouses, the grantor is releasing any dower rights which would have been bestowed to the grantor throughout common law on the grantee’s death. Thus, a grantor must consider carefully the potential future consequences for submitting a quitclaim deed.
Dower Rights and Inheritance
In reality, most spouses now won’t claim dower rights because they usually are called in the deceased’s will as getting a much larger (or complete ) share in the deceased’s property. In cases like this, the surviving partner will waive any dower rights forthcoming in order to take full advantage of their inheritance instead. Quitclaim deeds are frequently used in divorce settlements, and grantors of such deeds need to understand that registering the deed means signing away dower rights, which further means there will be no entitlement to the property for the grantor upon the ex-spouse’s (grantee’s) death.
Contesting the Quitclaim Deed
The grounds upon which a grantor (or heir of a grantor) may competition a quitclaim deed are if the deed was signed under duress, or if the deed did not meet the legal requirements for its filing (e.g., it had been signed [forgery], the property description was left blank, etc..)