Generally, two types of deeds throughout the U.S. convey property ownership between parties, quitclaim deeds and warranty deeds. People often use quitclaim deeds for transfers between family members or to clear property title issues. In Alabama, quitclaim deeds can be for either purpose, however people use them most often to correct title issues. However, quitclaim deeds in Alabama do not protect the grantee against title issues and do not offer a guarantee of a clear title.
Quitclaim vs. Warranty Deed
People commonly use warranty deeds when a selling a property. The deed provides a guarantee by the grantor that he is the owner of the property and the property has no title defects or liens present. If in the future the property develops an issue regarding the title, the grantor has the obligation to aid the grantee to clear the issue. Quitclaim deeds do not offer this level of protection to the grantee. Their function is only to transfer the interest the grantor has in the property to the grantee and offers no promises of a clear title. Both types of deeds work this way in Alabama.
People in Alabama can use quitclaim deeds to complete a number of property transfers. Often they add or remove someone as an owner of the property, as in the case of a marriage or divorce. They can also correct an error in a previous deed, such as a misspelling. In some instances, people use them to gift a property to an heir or beneficiary of a will.
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In Alabama, the county probate court is responsible for document recordings and record maintenance. This includes quitclaim deeds. For a quitclaim deed to record in Alabama, it must state the names and marital status of all grantors and grantees. It must also include the mailing address of the grantees, and the name and address of the person who prepared the deed, generally an attorney. A complete legal description of the property needs to accompany the deed. Finally, the grantors must sign the quitclaim deed and have this acknowledged by a notary public. Each county in Alabama charges a recording fee for deeds.
According to the LandAmerica website, Gordon v. Ward, an Alabama court case, states "one who has only a quitclaim deed to land cannot claim protection as a bona fide purchaser without notice." This relates back to the difference between a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed. The grantee of a quitclaim deed receives less protection than the grantee of a warranty deed. In Alabama, people should consult an attorney for advice on the best deed choice.