You Can Quitclaim Your Home to a Loved One to Skip Probate Costs. Is It Worth It?

A quitclaim deed easily, quickly transfers your home’s title. You can use a quitclaim to give a home to someone else, with no expectation of a payment from the recipient. Some people use quitclaims to pass homes to their family members.

So, is this a good way to carry out your wishes yourself — a sort of early estate planning? Who needs their home going under a probate court’s supervision after they die, right? And who wants to pay huge fees to the county for the trouble?

Fair questions. But…  

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Quitclaim Forgery Is Snatching Florida Homes From Seniors and Dead People

Some people will steal their own mothers’ homes.

In a stunning case of deed fraud, a woman named Wanda donned a wig and pretended to be her own elderly mother, then tried to steal her home in Hillsborough County, Florida. A video recording shows Wanda using the Notarize computer-based notary service, signing a quitclaim deed. She signed her mother’s name to take the deed for herself.

In May 2023, the Tampa police apprehended Wanda on counts of forgery and elder exploitation.

A weird and unusual case, surely? Alas, there are quite a few deed scoundrels alive and well in Florida. The state is among the top three for identity theft, according to the 2022 figures from the Federal Trade Commission.

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Using a Quitclaim Deed: What Are the Drawbacks?

A quitclaim deed is a simple form that transfers a piece of real estate from one person to another. Any homeowner can fill out a quitclaim deed with their name and the name of the recipient, and the property’s existing legal description, sign it in front of a notary and record the document. That effectively and quickly passes a property on. No wonder these forms mistakenly get called “quick claim” deeds.

Yet quitclaims are not a good pick for most property conveyances. Read on to learn more.

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Divorce, Property Division, and the Quitclaim Deed

Parting of the Ways

Co-ownership of a house can unwind in several ways. One way is through divorce proceedings. You might be wondering how this works, and what kind of decisions have to be made.

You might have questions about passing the home to your ex using a quitclaim deed. Here are some of the key issues that arise, and what steps need to be taken in each case.

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Can I Quitclaim My House Into a Living Trust?

Using the Quitclaim to Keep a House Out of Probate

We’re glad you asked. You might have heard that a living trust can…

  • Have your property bypass the costly, time-consuming probate court process when you die.
  • Be modified if you change your mind, and even let you put the property back in your own name while you are alive.
  • Name a successor trustee with the power to pass your property to whomever you designate as the new owner.

All of the above are reasons many people use this method of passing their property along after they die. And a home is a typical piece of property that people put into a living trust.  

Importantly, a living trust is a revocable trust — it’s a trust you control during your life, and can change. Curious as to how it works? Here, we outline the basics of using a living trust to pass a lifetime home along to its future owner(s).

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Should Your Child’s Name Be on Your House Deed?

Two people enjoying fresh iced tea in an outdoor setting. Captioned: Should Your Child's Name Be On Your House Deed?

Compare the Alternatives

Thinking of putting your child’s name on your house deed? If that’s the person who will get the home after you pass in any case, it might seem sensible. And maybe it is, in certain circumstances. After all, probate can be time-consuming, and even contentious.

But before making this decision, do you know that your child is ready and willing to own a house? And at that point, have you consulted with an attorney and tax specialist about doing things this way? Here are some key issues to spot before obtaining professional guidance.

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