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Just found out that my wife's grandfather had intended to sell a vacant lot he owned to one of his sons (my wife's uncle), but through some error this never happened. For the past 15 or so years since he died, the lot has remained in the grandfather's name and not the uncle's.

Now the uncle wants my wife to sign a quitclaim deed, which she has no problem signing, but we do not know if taxes have been paid on this lot.

Does signing the quitclaim deed acknowledge that my wife does have an interest in the property and, more importantly, does this mean that she may be responsible for a portion of the back taxes?

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No, it indicates nothing of the sort. According to the Wikipedia article:

Unlike most other property deeds, a quitclaim deed contains no title covenant and thus offers the grantee no warranty as to the status of the property title;[2] the grantee is entitled only to whatever interest the grantor actually possesses at the time the transfer occurs.[3] This means that the grantor does not guarantee that he or she actually owns any interest in the property at the time of the transfer,[4] or if he or she does own an interest, that the title is free and clear. It is, therefore, possible for a grantee to receive no actual interest, and – because a quitclaim deed offers no warranty – have no legal recourse to recover any losses.

A quitclaim deed is often used when a person has a possible or speculative interest in a property, which s/he is not interested in pursuing . The grantor merely says: "Whatever legal interest I have in this property, and it may be none, is now yours." The grantor assumes no liability at all. I could grant a quitclaim to the Brooklyn Bridge, perfectly legally, and without claiming ever to have owned it.

  • Do you mean pursuing rather than perusing? – Dale M Jan 22 at 20:48

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