August 25, 2015 | Blog
  • What is a QuitClaim Deed in Illinois?

    quitclaim deed

    A Quitclaim Deed is not a "one size fits all" document for everyone and needs to be carefully drafted for each transfer.  Let me explain:

    I write this post after seeing a number of inaccurate postings and "how to" videos by non-lawyers on how to properly complete a quitclaim deed (QCD) in Illinois.  These videos are only partially accurate.  There can be huge ramifications if the deed is drafted improperly or parts left omitted.  Be cautious of people giving legal advice that aren't attorneys... it could be construed as the unauthorized practice of the law.  

    However, while on the subject, I will go ahead and address some of the issues that you need to know because they are not included in the generic deed you buy online or at the office-store.  

    First off, individuals interested in preparing their own deed need to make sure they create the proper type of tenancy for the new grantee(s) because there are multiple types - each of which effects ownership rights differently.  A property attorney could explain to you how each of these tenancies could impact you favorably or negatively.

    Second, ensure the "subject to" clauses are properly included.  This will effect homestead exemptions, property taxes, and a number of other items.  A store bought "generic" QCD does not cover some of these important things needed in an Illinois deed.  I have prepared many deeds for clients, and I cannot think of any that ended up looking like the pre-printed information on the store-bought Quitclaim Deed. 

    Third, people that reside in Chicago and several other townships will have to have a final water-reading.  This is the city's way of getting paid up on past-due bills.  You cannot get the "exempt" stamp (explained below) until you obtain a final reading and receipt of payment.  Getting an FPC is a daunting task by itself in Chicago.

    In Illinois, the State, County and most cities charge a fee (or tax) when real property is transferred.  However, there are some exceptions that can enable you to be exempt from paying the huge transfer taxes.  Depending on the conveyance, a quitclaim deed MAY qualify to be an exempt transfer.

    Not all villages require an exempt stamp, but most of those that do require it charge a small fee for the stamp ($10 to $100).  The City of Chicago is one that doesn't charge, but they do have some other requirements.  

    The documents need to be notarized but due to all of the mortgage fraud occurring these days, it is my understanding is that most banks and currency exchanges will no longer notarize "real property" transfers (such as a quitclaim deed) due to liability risks.

    My advice to those that need a quitclaim deed... for only one or two hundred bucks, it's worth hiring a lawyer to do this instead of risking legal problems in the future from an improper conveyance.  This isn't something an attorney charges huge fees to complete for clients.