Using Quit Claim Deeds in Illinois

A quitclaim deed allows property owners to transfer whatever interest they may have in a specific piece of real estate. As opposed to a warranty deed, it does not offer any guarantees that the owner has good title or even ownership at all; it simply conveys whatever interest exists at the time of the deed’s signing. Once buyers accept it, they are left with little to no recourse against the former owner. This lack of protection generally makes a quitclaim deed unsuitable for purchasing real estate from an unknown party.


Yet, a quitclaim deed is fully sufficient to convey property in other circumstances, such as transfers between family members or spouses. For example, in case of divorce, a spouse can quit claim to his or her interest in the property; alternately, the deed can be used to add a spouse to the title. Other scenarios that lend themselves to using a quitclaim deed are transfers to a corporation or into a trust as well as uncertainties regarding title.


When there is a cloud on the title, a question whether parties unnamed in the deed have interest in the property, the title insurance company may require a quitclaim deed in order to remove the potential interest holder and to restore marketability of the owner’s title. Lenders might require the same from a spouse who will not be on the title.



A basic form for the quitclaim deed is provided in the Illinois statutes (765 ILCS 5/10). Record it with the recorder of deeds office in the county where the property is located. This provides official notice of the land transfer and makes the instrument part of the public record; if unrecorded, it may be void to subsequent purchasers for valuable consideration (765 ILCS 5/31).


Further information about quitclaim deeds and other real estate documents is available at When in doubt about what type of deed to use or to accept, seek legal help from an attorney.

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