So the best advice we can give our readers is this. If they intend on giving someone a piece of real estate. They should deliver the fully executed quit claim deed. Making sure that deed is recorded or filed in the government office that handles real estate documents where the property is located.
By Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
There were a number of comments about a recent question we wrote regarding a quit claim deed that was signed but not recorded. Here’s a sample:
Quit Claim Deed Advice
Comment: I am an attorney and practice estate planning. The other attorneys in the office specialize in real estate. Your recent column regarding the conditional use of a quit claim deed does not reflect Illinois law. Your statement that if the husband didn’t record the deed prior to death, then the deed wouldn’t be valid. This is incorrect for Illinois state matters. The issue I have with national columns is that the advice given is not state specific. That should be the first sentence in your column every week. Individuals like Suze Orman and other websites like Mama Bear encourage individuals to do their own planning, and claim to be state specific, but the final documents are not. General, non-state specific advice or forms do a disservice to individuals as it may dissuade them from consulting a local attorney.
Unrecorded Quit Claim Deed is Still Valid
Comment: In your recent article on quit claim deeds. You write that a deed has to be recorded. And recorded before death to be valid. I don’t think either is true. An unrecorded deed is still valid if not recording it is the only problem. Not recording it merely makes the proof of the deed more difficult and easier for the holder to wrongly dispose of it.
Unrecorded Quit Claim Deed
Ilyce & Sam Respond: Both of our readers are correct. Generally, a deed is valid when prepared properly and delivered to the intended recipient. And, while it’s true that a quit claim deed doesn’t necessarily have to be recorded to be valid. It does put the world on notice that there has been a change in status for the property. If a quit claim deed is signed, but someone sticks it in a file, doesn’t record it, and no one knows it exists. The deed might as well never have existed.
Why You Should Record a Deed
The whole purpose of recording a deed is to put all interested parties on notice that the grantee on the deed owns the property. In some states, where an owner of a property might prepare multiple deeds and even give those deeds to various people, all of those deeds might be valid. Depending on the law of the state in which the property is located, the first person to record may be the rightful owner. In other states, the rightful owner might be the person that received the first deed.
You’d need to figure out the mechanics of the state in which the property is located to know the rules regulating multiple deeds and the timing of recording. For that, our readers would be wise to talk to a local real estate attorney.
Record the Deed to Avoid Any Issues
We agree with our writers that not recording the deed would make it easier for the person that gave that deed to dispose of it wrongly. Sometimes people change their minds, especially in family situations. The best advice we can give our readers is this. If they intend on giving someone a piece of real estate, they should deliver the fully executed deed. Make sure that deed is recorded or filed in the government office that handles real estate documents where the property is located.
We will often advise our readers to seek out a local attorney. One who can guide them on applicable local and state real estate laws. On the subject of quit claim deeds, we don’t usually advise our readers to use attorneys. As we let our readers know that there are better ways to transfer ownership of real estate from parents to children..
Thanks for your comments.
©2022 by Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin.