Thursday, January 01, 2009

"How do I take someone's name off of my deed?"

A name is never physically removed from a deed. To "take someone's name off of a deed" means conveying that person's interest in the property back to you or to someone else.

If that person is still alive, this conveyance is done by recording a new deed (one that conveys the property from him to you or someone else). The filing fee for recording a new deed is $125. There is no blank form available to use in creating the new deed. We strongly recommend using an attorney to prepare the new deed.

The procedure is different if the person whose name is to be removed is deceased. In the case of married couples, most own real estate as "tenants by the entirety" which means there is a right of survivorship. When one spouse dies, his interest in the property is extinguished and the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole owner of the property. There is no need to create a new deeds since nothing is being transferred. To show the change in ownership, however, a death certificate for the deceased spouse should be recorded at the registry of deeds. The filing fee for a death certificate is $75.

If the deceased co-owner was not a spouse, then an automatic transfer also occurs if the co-owners held the property as "joint tenants" - look at the deed by which you and the decedent became owners to determine if this is the case. If it says "joint tenants" you need only record a death certificate. If it says "tenants in common" however, there is no right of survivorship and the decedent's estate must be probated to convey ownership of his portion of the property to someone else.

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