How to Cancel a Quitclaim Deed

by Jayne Thompson

Transferring ownership of a property to a family member with a quitclaim deed is no different than selling property to a cash buyer with a warranty deed in one major respect: legal documents, once validly executed, cannot be reversed. The only way a quitclaim deed can be cancelled is if it has not been legally completed in the first place. That said, it is possible to reverse the quitclaim transaction by carrying out a new transaction, whereby the grantee under the original quitclaim transfers the property back to the original grantor. You can only do this if both parties agree.

Confirm that the original quitclaim deed was valid. In most states, a real estate deed takes effect when it is signed and "delivered" to the grantee, regardless of whether it is then recorded with the local land records office. If your deed has been delivered according to the laws of your state, you cannot cancel it.

Ask the property owner (grantor) to execute a new quitclaim deed transferring the property back to you. If he or she agrees, locate a template form appropriate to your jurisdiction on the web.

Complete the quitclaim deed. Fill in the name of the grantor (property owner) and the grantee (you). Transcribe the address and the legal description of the property. You can find the legal description on the property's title deeds; you will have used it to prepare the original quitclaim.

Have the grantor execute the deed according to state law. Typically this will require the grantor to sign the deed in the presence of a notary public and, perhaps, an independent witness present during the signing process. Your local county recorder's office can confirm how the quitclaim deed needs to be signed.

Have the deed filed at the local recorder's office. You will have to pay a small fee.


  • The grantee of the original quitclaim is not obligated to reverse the transaction. Seek the help of an attorney if the grantee refuses.

About the Author

Jayne Thompson qualified as a solicitor in 1996. She holds a first degree in law and business from the University of Birmingham and a Master of laws from the University of East London.Thompson shamefully admits to using her family as fodder for the lifestyle and parenting articles she also writes, which have appeared most recently in "The Green Parent" magazine.

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