“Quick Claim” Deeds and Florida Probate Myths

In Probate Myths by Long

By Jurek Durczak from Lublin, Poland (A very small house) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome!  This article is about quit claim deeds AND probate law.  If this isn’t exactly what you were looking for, then choose one:

I want to learn more about probate law (Someone has died)

Keep reading to learn about Quit Claim Deeds. (No one has died)

First things first. It’s not a “quick” claim deed, it’s a quit claim deed.

If a quit claim deed or a warranty deed was properly executed from a decedent to a beneficiary BEFORE the decedent died, that property is not considered a “probate asset,” and does not have to go through probate in Florida.

How do you know if a deed was validly executed?

In general, a deed has a “grantor” (the owner or transferor at the time of the execution of the deed) and a “grantee” (the buyer, recipient or transferee of the property of the executed deed.) Additionally, the deed must recite the proper legal description of the property. And in a perfect world, the following elements would be met:

  1. There is a contiguous and chronological “chain of title” leading up to the grantor of the deed.
  2. The grantor was competent to sign the deed.
  3. There is no evidence of impropriety surrounding the execution of the deed (coercion, duress, undue influence).
  4. The signing/execution of the deed was performed before two (2) uninterested parties (no beneficial interest in the deed transfer) and a Notary Public licensed in the State where the deed was signed.
  5. If the grantor was married, the spouse may have been required to join in and sign the deed (this approaches more discussion about homestead laws which is beyond the scope of this article.)

Recording a deed does not in and of itself have any bearing on the validity of the execution of the deed. However, it does preserve the proper chain of title and leaves a rebuttable presumption that the grantee of the deed has some right or interest in title to the property.

Again, if the property was validly transferred by a properly executed deed before the death of the decedent, it’s probably not subject to Florida Probate.

Unsure? Contact your local title company or contact us.

Update: We have received many inquiries about quit claim deeds & NON-PROBATE ISSUES.  While we’ve still tried to give guidance on the questions, note that if your question does NOT concern Florida probate law (there is no death involved), please locate an attorney that would be more appropriate – real estate attorneys and divorce attorneys may be more appropriate for your question.  If it’s truly a probate dilemna, please click here to schedule your FREE consultation and we’ll handle it privately.