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I have been asked to sign a quick claim deed that put property in my wife name only. If she wills the same property to me upon her death, does the will override the quick claim deed?


The answer is more “yes” than “no,” but an explanation will help you understand what happens and why. First, the term for the deed is “QUITCLAIM” not “quick claim.”

It simply means that you surrender, or “quit,” your claim to the property, if any, to the grantee, without any warranty that you had any interest to convey in the first place.

Thus, it differs from a “grant deed” in which the grantor warrants good title. If you quitclaim your interest, let’s say a community property interest, to your wife, you give up your interest.

This is not uncommon between married couples, but you should understand why you are doing it and have a valid reason.

IF you wife makes a will naming you as heir (technically, “devisee” if it is real property) of the property, and IF you outlive your wife, and IF she does not change her will before she dies, you will get the property back.

It is technically incorrect to say that the will overrides the quitclaim deed. It doesn’t. Dead people can’t own property.

Upon their death, the property passes either by will or intestate succession to someone else. Trusts are also used to pass property upon death.

The point is that however someone obtains property — by quitclaim deed, by grant deed, by inheritance, or by creating it (e.g. painting a valuable painting), the property will become someone else’s upon death.

Note, however, that a will can be changed by its maker at any time prior to death, whereas once a deed of any kind is executed, delivered and recorded, it is pretty much beyond the reach of the maker.

My advice is that you see an attorney who is an estate planning specialist. Unless you and your wife are on very good terms and there is no doubt in your mind that you will remain married the rest of your lives, you should have your OWN legal advisor.

Attention! We are not attorneys and we are not lawyers. We cannot represent customers, select legal forms, or give advice on rights or laws. The article provided is for information ONLY and is NOT a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.