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Real property

quitclaim deed

A quitclaim deed—also known as a quitclaim—is a deed that transfers whatever interest the grantor (purported owner) has in a piece of real property to the grantee (buyer)—but does not represent or warrant that the grantor’s title (ownership) is valid (that the grantor has any ownership interest in it) or free from liens or encumbrances.

A quitclaim deed only purports to convey the grantor’s present interest in the land (if any) and does not purport to convey the land itself. Thus, if the grantor were to acquire an interest in the land after executing (signing) a quitclaim deed, the grantor would retain that interest, as the grantor did not have it at the time the grantor executed the quitclaim deed.

In Texas, a quitclaim deed is a legal instrument that transfers the grantor's rights, title, and interest in a property to a grantee, without any warranties of title. It is often used to clear up title issues or transfer property between family members. The quitclaim deed conveys only what interest the grantor has at the time of the transfer, if any, and does not guarantee that the title is clear of liens or encumbrances. This means that if the grantor does not actually own the property, or if there are issues with the title, the grantee receives no legal recourse against the grantor under the quitclaim deed. Additionally, if the grantor later acquires an interest in the property, that interest is not passed to the grantee because it was not owned by the grantor at the time the quitclaim deed was executed. It's important to note that quitclaim deeds are not as commonly used in Texas as in some other states, and Texas law has specific requirements for the execution and recording of deeds to be valid.


Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

28 U.S.C. § 2409a - Real property quiet title actions
This statute is relevant because it allows the United States to be named as a party in a lawsuit where the plaintiff claims an interest in real property in conflict with an interest claimed by the United States. This could be relevant in cases where a quitclaim deed is involved and there is a dispute over the title that involves the federal government.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2409a, an individual can file a lawsuit against the United States to resolve a dispute over the title to real property. This is known as a quiet title action, and it is used to establish a party's title against anyone challenging it, including the government. The statute waives the sovereign immunity of the United States, allowing it to be sued in cases where it claims an interest in the property. The action must be filed in the district court for the district where the property is located. The statute also sets forth the procedures for filing such an action and the potential defenses the United States may have. It is important to note that this statute does not apply to trust or restricted Indian lands.

26 U.S.C. § 6321 - Lien for taxes
This statute is relevant to quitclaim deeds because it establishes a federal tax lien on all property and rights to property of a person who owes unpaid federal taxes. If a grantor has a federal tax lien on their property and executes a quitclaim deed, the lien remains on the property and becomes the responsibility of the grantee.

Section 6321 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that if any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same after demand, the amount shall be a lien in favor of the United States upon all property and rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to such person. This lien arises at the time the assessment is made and continues until the liability is satisfied or becomes unenforceable by reason of lapse of time. This means that if a property is transferred via a quitclaim deed and there is an existing federal tax lien, the lien remains attached to the property despite the transfer. The grantee of a quitclaim deed should be aware that they may be taking the property subject to such liens.

42 U.S.C. § 7418 - Federal enforcement
This statute is relevant because it addresses federal enforcement of environmental standards, which can affect property interests. If a quitclaim deed transfers property that is subject to environmental cleanup or other regulatory action, the grantee may inherit these responsibilities.

Under 42 U.S.C. § 7418, the federal government has the authority to enforce environmental standards on property throughout the United States. This includes the ability to place liens on property for the recovery of costs associated with the cleanup of hazardous substances. If a property transferred by a quitclaim deed is later found to be contaminated or in violation of environmental laws, the federal government may enforce these laws against the current owner, which could include the grantee of a quitclaim deed. This could result in significant financial obligations for cleanup or fines, which would affect the value and use of the property.