The New York Legal News Round Up
New Laws of 2007 and Their Effect on NY School Districts

Define That Term #256

DictionaryMonday's term was quitclaim deed, which is defined as:

n. a real property deed which transfers (conveys) only that interest in the property in which the grantor has title. Commonly used in transfers of title or interests in title, quitclaims are often made to family members, divorcing spouses, or in other transactions between people well-known to each other. Quitclaim deeds are also used to clear up questions of full title when a person has a possible but unknown interest in the property. Grant deeds and warranty deeds guarantee (warrant) that the grantor has full title to the property or the interest the deed states is being conveyed, but quitclaim deeds do not warrant good title.

Eli and Edward Wiest offered helpful defintions. 

In his comment/guess, Edward asked:   "In MA, the statutory quitclaim actually conforms to the old deeds providing warranties only against grantor's acts. And how does this compare to what was known as the bargain and sale deed used in NY (before I quit my claim to be practicing there, although I retain my licenses!)?"

Does anyone out there know the answer to Edward's query regarding New York law as to quitclaim deeds?  Real estate has never been my area of practice, so unfortunately, I don't know that answer.

Today's term is:


As always, educated guesses are welcome, but dictionaries are not.


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I'm fairly sure it's an addition or amendment to a will instrument. Often handwritten (i.e.: holographic codicil).

Edward Wiest

Agreed, but in most jurisdictions, as codicils must be executed with the same formalities as a will, an unwitnessed handwritten holograph may be scrap paper--depending on local law.


In Tennessee, at least, holographic codicils are valid IF they are entirely in the testator's handwriting and are signed. I don't believe there is a requirement that they be dated, but that is obviously preferable. There is no requirement of witness signatures.

Elizabeth Randisi

In my practice, with the universal use of computers, the codicil is becoming obsolete. Why create a second document that must be located and probated, when you can revise the old will or draft a new one in minutes?


If the formal requirements are too difficult (and, for many people, finding appropriate people to act as witnesses can be a difficult task), giving a testator the ability to easily amend their will can be hugely important.

Additionally, it can be a way for people who may be in poor health to make a change to their will without the burden or expense of returning to their attorney. This can be especially important if death seems imminent and a return visit to the attorney (or waiting for witnesses) is impracticable.

Besides, if we really want to try to give effect to a testator's intent, why not give them another way to tell us what they want to do?

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