California Quitclaim Deed

Transfer property in California quickly and easily using this simple legal form. You can use a quitclaim deed to:

  • transfer property to or from a revocable living trust
  • transfer property to one spouse as part of a divorce
  • transfer one co-owner’s interests to another co-owner
  • transfer property you own by yourself into co-ownership with someone else
  • change the way owners hold title to the property
  • and more

Includes Declarations of Exemption from Documentary Transfer Tax forms.

You can save and edit the form before you buy -- just create a Nolo.com account. It's easy, free, and there's no obligation to buy anything. If you purchase the form, you'll be able to print, send, or download it.

Transfer property in California quickly and easily using this simple legal form. You can use a quitclaim deed to:

  • transfer property to or from a revocable living trust
  • transfer property to one spouse as part of a divorce
  • transfer one co-owner’s interests to another co-owner
  • transfer property you own by yourself into co-ownership with someone else
  • change the way owners hold title to the property
  • and more

Includes Declarations of Exemption from Documentary Transfer Tax forms.

You can save and edit the form before you buy -- just create a Nolo.com account. It's easy, free, and there's no obligation to buy anything. If you purchase the form, you'll be able to print, send, or download it.

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  • Product Details
  • Legally transfer property in California with this simple form

    Using a quitclaim deed is a common and simple way to transfer property.  It conveys whatever interest you have in a piece of property without making any promises about the type of interest you’re conveying.

    You can use Nolo’s California Quitclaim Deed to do the following and more:

    • transfer property to or from a revocable living trust
    • transfer property to one spouse as part of a divorce
    • clarify an ambiguity about inherited property-- for example, by giving up potential rights to inherited real estate
    • settle uncertainties about other kinds of claims -- for example, by relinquishing the rights to an easement
    • transfer one co-owner’s interest to another co-owner  -- for example, when one co-owner buys out another
    • transfer part of your interest to a new co-owner -- for example, by transferring property you own by yourself into shared ownership with someone else
    • change the way owners hold title to the property -- for example, by transferring title from joint tenants to tenants in common, or the other way around.

    Nolo's California Quitclaim Deed includes up-to-date instructions for preparing a quitclaim deed, getting it notarized, and recording (filing) it with the county recorder. You'll learn: 

    • how to prepare your quitclaim deed
    • how to prepare a declaration if the transfer is tax-exempt
    • how to prepare a preliminary change of ownership report, and
    • how to record your deed.

    Nolo has dozens of products created just for California residents. Check out Nolo's list of California products.

    Additional Technical Support FAQs

  • FAQs
  • What do I need to do to prepare and record a quitclaim deed?

    • Fill in the deed form.
    • Print it out.
    • Sign the deed and get your signature notarized.
    • Make a photocopy for each party to the transaction.
    • If the transfer is exempt from local transfer tax, the reasons for the exemption will be on the deed itself, but you might want to print out a separate declaration explaining why, as clerks’ rules vary about how to claim certain exemptions. (Note: some counties might also have their own required transfer tax affidavit, and require you to fill it out regardless of whether you owe a local transfer tax or not.)
    • Fill out a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report.
    • Record the deed at the county recorder's office.

    What are some common uses for quitclaim deeds?

    A quitclaim deed conveys whatever interest—if any—you have in the property. It makes no promises whatsoever about the type of property interest being conveyed. A quitclaim deed is commonly used when you want to:

    • Transfer property to or from a revocable living trust.
    • Transfer property to one spouse as part of a divorce. For example, say you are getting divorced, and you and your spouse agree that you should keep the house. Your spouse executes a quitclaim deed, giving you any interest they might have in the house. Once you've recorded the deed, the public record will show title insurance companies, banks, and potential buyers that your ex has no community property interest in the house.
    • Settle an ambiguity about inherited property. For example, suppose your father's will didn't make it clear whether you, your brother, or both should inherit his house. You and your brother agree that you will take the house and he will take some other assets. He executes a quitclaim deed, transferring to you any interest he might have in the house.
    • Settle uncertainties about other kinds of claims, such as an easement. For example, say you want to sell your house, but the buyer is concerned because your neighbor has been using your driveway to get to the back of her property and might have the legal right (called an easement) to use the driveway. Your neighbor could sign a quitclaim deed, giving up any rights she might have (including any easement) in your property.
    • Transfer one or more co-owners' interests to another co-owner. For example, if three siblings own property together and one buys out the other two, those two could sign a quitclaim deed to transfer their interests to the sibling who's buying the property.
    • Transfer part of your interest to a new co-owner. For example, if you hold title to property in your own name, but want to change it so you hold title with another person as joint tenants or tenants in common, you could use a quitclaim deed to transfer your interest from yourself alone to both of you together.
    • Change the way owners hold title to the property. For example, if you and your sister own property as joint tenants, but want to change it so that you hold title as tenants in common, you could use a quitclaim deed to make that change.

    What do I need to know about transfer taxes?

    Local governments tax all sales of real estate within their boundaries. But if no money is changing hands, no tax should be due.

    Generally, a transfer is exempt if it's:

    • between spouses or registered domestic partners who are dividing property in contemplation of divorce if a court has issued a judgment or order dividing the property; or the spouses, in contemplation of divorce, have signed an agreement about how to divide property
    • a gift, or
    • to or from your revocable living trust.

    If you're not sure whether or not your transfer is subject to tax, first check the county assessor’s website to see if it provides more information about exemptions (calling the assessor’s office likely won’t help—evaluating your specific situation and whether it qualifies for an exemption is beyond the scope of what they can assist with). If you are still unable to determine whether your transfer qualifies for an exemption, consult a lawyer.

    There are two possible types of transfer taxes: the documentary transfer tax and a city transfer tax.

    Documentary Transfer Tax

    If the transfer is subject to the documentary transfer tax: Call the county recorder or check the county recorder’s website (some provide online tax calculators) to find out the amount of the tax. Enter it in the "amount" field. You must pay the tax (to the county recorder) at the time you record the deed.

    You’ll also want to find out if the county recorder requires you to fill out a specific transfer tax form or affidavit. In most counties, it’s sufficient to state the amount of tax owed on the face of the quitclaim deed, as the Nolo quitclaim deed form does. However, some counties—such as San Francisco—require you to fill out their proprietary Transfer Tax Affidavit regardless of whether the amount of tax due is stated on the face of the deed.

    If your transfer is not subject to the documentary transfer tax: Your deed will need to state that no documentary transfer tax is due, along with the reason why the transfer qualifies for an exemption. The three most common reasons for documentary transfer tax exemptions are:

    1. If you and your spouse (or registered domestic partner) are dividing property as required by a judgment decreeing a dissolution of the marriage or partnership, or legal separation, by a judgment of nullity, or by any other judgment or order rendered pursuant to the Family Code.
      • If this applies to you, you might want to check with the clerk to see if you need a separate declaration of exemption. If so, complete, sign, and file the Declaration of Exemption from Documentary Transfer Tax: Division of Marital Real Property and file it with your quitclaim deed.

    OR

    1. If you and your spouse (or registered domestic partner) are dividing property as required by a written agreement between the spouses or partners executed in contemplation of a judgment or order.
      • If this applies to you, you might want to check with the clerk to see if you need a separate declaration of exemption. If so, complete, sign, and file the Declaration of Exemption from Documentary Transfer Tax: Division of Marital Real Property and file it with your quitclaim deed.

    OR

    1. If you're making a gift—you have not and will not receive consideration (payment) from the person to whom you’re transferring the property (including transferring property in or out of your revocable living trust). This includes the transfer of property in or out of your revocable living trust.
      • If this applies to you, you might want to check with the clerk to see if you need a separate declaration of exemption. If so, complete, sign, and file the Declaration of Exemption from Documentary Transfer Tax: Gift of Real Property and file it with your quitclaim deed.

    There are a few other, less common reasons why a transfer might be exempt from the documentary transfer tax, such as certain transfers of property held by partnerships and transfers given to secure debt. You can find the statutes regarding these exemptions in the California Revenue & Tax Code sections 11921 through 11930; for more information consider consulting an attorney.

    City Transfer Tax

    Call the county recorder to find out if there is a city transfer tax that might apply to your transfer. If there is an applicable tax, you’ll enter the amount owed on the deed, and you will need to pay it when you record your deed.

    How should I identify the new owners and their new title?

    In this field, you'll need to clearly identify the new owner and how he, she, they, or it (a business, for example) is taking title. Here are some examples.

    • To an unmarried recipient: "to Pablo Santiago, an unmarried man, as his sole and separate property"
    • To co-owners as tenants in common: "to Stefan Bowsky and Hannah Strauss, as tenants in common"
    • To a married couple, as community property with right of survivorship: "to Henry Anderson and Melanie Anderson, as community property with right of survivorship"
    • To a married couple as regular community property: "to Henry Anderson and Melanie Anderson, husband and wife, as community property"
    • To registered domestic partners as regular community property: "to Henry Anderson and Robert Ishikawa, registered domestic partners, as community property"
    • To a minor under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act: "to Joan Goodman, as custodian for Jacob Okoye until age 22, under the California Uniform Transfers to Minors Act"
    • To a partnership: "to Elm Street Books, a partnership"
    • To a corporation: "to WebTalk Enterprises, Inc., a California corporation"

    Caution: Name each owner. Don’t try to deed property to a group, such as "to my children.” Even a seemingly simple term like "children" can cause confusion when stepchildren, adopted children, or out-of-wedlock children are involved. There’s no reason not to name each person you want to own the property.

    How should I enter the legal description of the property?

    It's crucial to get the legal description of the property correct on the deed. Copy it from the old deed, being very careful not to make an error. Check it by having someone read out loud from the old deed while you follow along on the new one.

    Common kinds of legal descriptions include:

    • Metes and bounds. A metes and bounds description describes the perimeter of the property. It starts and ends at an identifiable point.
    • Township/Range. This is based on a survey system that divides the state into a grid. The north-south lines are called ranges, and the east-west lines are called townships. The property is identified by where it sits on the grid.
    • Reference to a recorded map. A description can simply refer to an approved subdivision map or official city or county map (also called a plat) that was recorded with the county. For example, "Parcel 35 of Country View Estates subdivision, a map of which was recorded in the Contra Costa County plat books at book 498, page 1213, on January 14, 1986."
    • Name of the property. It's very unusual, but you can refer to a piece of property by name if it's generally known that way and you don't have another description. (Cal. Civ. Code Section 1092.) If, for example, you are transferring the "Cartwright Ranch," and ­everyone will know which property that means, you're all right.

    What size paper should I use to print my deed?

    Print your deed on regular letter-sized (8.5 x 11-inch) paper. County recorders won't accept any other size.

4.5

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CANNOT CHANGE WORDING

By James B.

Does not look like the typical deeds used in recording. Cannot change wording in format given. Not enough room in boxes to see what writing. Missing the wording..."Remises, Releases and Forever Quitclaims" So much easier to work with the Title companies.

Posted on 12/10/2020

5 Minutes saves you at least $200!

By Sandra R.

so easy to complete, why wasting money on lawyers if all you need is 5 minutes on Nolo, notarizing and recording is a piece of cake as well - this was quoted by an estate lawyer to me for $300 - you do the math!

Posted on 4/24/2018

Did the job

By Sandra J.

Forms were just what we needed looked good and did the job.

Posted on 11/28/2017

Quitclaim

By Anonymous

was exactly the forms I needed and they worked.

Posted on 5/18/2017

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