Frequently Asked Questions about Deeds
People who have recently lost a spouse or other close relative with whom they owned a house or other real estate will often ask “what do I need to do to get their name off the deed?”
That is, they want to know what they need to do to make clear that they are now the sole owners of the property.
In many cases, this is a simple and inexpensive matter.
Do you really need to do anything?
If the most recent deed to the property says that the grantees are:
Joint tenants with rights of survivorship
Tenants by the entireties
Husband & wife
The “good news” is that you do not need to do anything immediately because the interest of the deceased passes to the others named as grantees on the deed automatically at his or her death. You do need to take some action before you sell the property or deed it to someone else.
What do you need to do?
Take a certified copy of the death certificate to the office of the Register of Deeds in the County where the property is located and ask that it be recorded.
After it is recorded, this copy will be returned to you with the “liber” and “page” where recorded stamped on it. Keep this with your deed.
When you want to sell or deed the property to someone else, you will need to have the information about the place where the death certificate is recorded included on the new deed.
You do not get a new deed but you do not need one.
What if the old deed says “Tenants in common”?
The bad news is that interest of the deceased does NOT pass to survivors automatically and you should to consult with a lawyer about probating the estate.
What if the person whose name I want off the deed is still alive?
The “Worse” news is that, if the person will not voluntarily “sign off” by signing a Quit Claim Deed, you can only accomplish this by taking them to Court and trying to prove that their name was only put on the deed by fraud, duress, coercion, or the grantor was legally incompetent. This is very difficult to do.
The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice or representation. You should talk with an attorney if you have any questions about how this information applies to your own problem or facts.