3 minute read

Quit Claim Deed Loopholes: How to Avoid Probate

Quitclaim deeds can be a helpful tool for transferring ownership of property - and they can even help parties avoid probate court. Learn more here.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Probate is the court-supervised process of executing an Estate, and it can be both costly and time consuming. The best way to avoid the stress of these proceedings is to take advantage of the various Estate Planning tools available. For example, by looking into quitclaim deed loopholes some assets may be able to avoid probate completely. 

There are a few different things to note about quitclaim deeds and Estate Planning -- notably that they need to be transferred while the property owner is still alive. That’s why thinking ahead is crucial. Keep reading to learn how to use a quitclaim deed to avoid probate: 

  • What is a quitclaim deed?

  • How to use a quitclaim deed to avoid probate

  • Tips for using quitclaim deeds to avoid probate

  • Quitclaim deeds & Estate Planning

What is a Quitclaim Deed?

A quitclaim deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of property or land from one individual to another. These documents are then filed with the county clerk’s office to record the transfer of ownership. 

How to Use a Quitclaim Deed to Avoid Probate

The probate process is initiated after someone passes away, and it can be more or less involved depending on whether or not they had an Estate Plan. The purpose of probate is to ensure the decedent's accounts and affairs are properly closed and to facilitate the transfer of assets to heirs. 

A quitclaim deed can be used to avoid probate by transferring interest in real property before someone’s death. This prevents the property from going through probate court because ownership is transferred by deed during the grantor’s life, rather than begin transferred by a Will after their death. 

Quitclaim deeds transfer real estate or land, and ownership can be moved to another individual or to a Living Trust. At the time of the transfer, the existing mortgage (if there is one) would remain in the name of the grantor. However, after the grantor’s death the loan would be assumed by the new owner.

The act of using a quitclaim deed to transfer ownership can help families avoid the costs associated with probate court or a traditional property sale. This can be useful during the Estate Planning process as you think through ways to maximize future support for loved ones. 

Quitclaim deeds are commonly used as a tax-forward Estate Planning strategy to help families pass down certain assets. Individuals battling a chronic illness may also find quitclaim deeds to be a valuable tool when Estate Planning. However, there are several other situations where these deeds can be helpful in avoiding probate. 

The probate process can be lengthy and complicated, especially during a time of grief. If this is something you don't want to go through alone, consider getting help from the experts at EZ-Probate. They offer unparalleled support and guidance to simplify the probate process.

Tips for Using Quitclaim Deeds to Avoid Probate

Quitclaim deeds can be an invaluable tool for avoiding probate, but only if they are executed correctly. When asking, “can a quitclaim deed be challenged?” The answer is yes, yes they can. While these documents are relatively easy to use, there are certain legal requirements to be aware of to ensure your transfer holds up. Read through the following tips as you consider this option: 

  • Check state law: The regulations for quitclaim deeds vary slightly depending on the state. For example, some areas require a witness while others do not. Make sure your deed is in compliance to prevent future legal challenges. 

  • Notarize the deed: With any legal document, it is crucial to follow the notary requirements. By certifying the quitclaim deed you can help further protect the new owner in case any ownership disputes arise. 

  • File with the county clerk: In order for public records to be updated, quitclaim deeds must be filed with the county clerk’s office. This is the only way to officially prove that ownership has changed hands. 

  • Work with an attorney: If anyone attempts to dispute the quitclaim deed, consult an attorney to learn about your options. This is the best way to ensure any ownership challenges are handled appropriately. 

Quitclaim Deeds & Estate Planning - Get Started Today

The practice of using a quitclaim deed to avoid probate is more common than you might think. The reason is because quitclaim deeds are a relatively seamless way to transfer property ownership from one individual to another -- as long as the proper requirements are followed.

Keep quitclaim deed loopholes in mind when Estate Planning, as they may help you finalize the way your assets are handled. Whether you need a quitclaim deed to transfer property into a Trust or to a loved one, we can help walk you through the process. Learn more about quitclaim deeds today and start working on your own Estate Plan. 

Probate court is a difficult process to navigate, especially after the loss of a loved one. Remember that quitclaim deed loopholes can be used to your advantage when Estate Planning to help reduce the amount of time and money your loved ones spend in probate court. When executed correctly, these deeds can be an invaluable strategy for the future.

Do you or a loved one need more information about the probate process? Learn more from the experts at EZ-Probate. They offer as much guidance as you need, from providing ready-to-sign documents to complete hand-holding every step of the way. Ready to get started? Schedule your free consultation