I recently met with a local senior citizen who had been promised monthly support payments by her daughter in exchange for a small apartment building she owned outright. She didn’t get anything in writing from her daughter, but her daughter made sure to have her mother sign a quitclaim deed.
Unfortunately, daughter ran into some financial and relationship problems and stopped making the support payments soon after. Mom reached out to me in the hopes that I could help her nullify what she perceived as a real estate purchase contract with her daughter and take her property back. Sadly, I had to inform her that she didn’t have a contract with her daughter. Instead, by signing a quitclaim deed, she had unconditionally and irrevocably transferred ownership of the property to her daughter. While a court can order a quitclaim deed reversed, it is not as simple as making a case for breach of contract. Rather, coercion or duress would have to be proven in order to cancel the deed.
If anyone asks you to sign a quitclaim deed based on a verbal promise to pay you for your property, don’t do it. Whether it’s a family member with the best intentions, a potential scammer who says they need the deed signed so they can get a loan and pay you cash, or someone who wants to “lease to own” your property, be sure to consult an attorney first and get the agreement documented in writing before signing a quitclaim deed. To learn more, read my latest article, Quitclaim Deeds Explained.