Is a quitclaim deed that has not been recorded still valid?

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Is a quitclaim deed that has not been recorded still valid?

My father-in-law signed a quit-claim deed to his home over to my husband and myself; it was notorized but my husband never had it recorded. Unfortunately my father-in-law has passed on and we are not sure if the property would still be part of his estate. It states that any property he owned at the time of his death would be divided equally between his 2 children. My sister-in-law was the executor of his Will and we want to know if we need to have her sign any papers to make the transfer legal? The one form Transfer of Real Property Tax that he signed and notorized is unfortunately outdated and there is a revised document that would need his signature.

Asked on February 5, 2015 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

An unrecorded quit claim deed is still valid; there is no time limit on recording a deed. The purpose of recording a deed is to give notice to the world that there has been a change in ownership or that there has been an encumbrance made against the real estate. So a deed must be recorded to be effective against a creditor or a subsequent purchaser for valuable consideration without notice but it need not be recorded to be binding on the parties to the transaction and to their heirs. 

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