A change in personal circumstances may make it necessary to remove a name from a property deed. Here’s how you can go about it.
Whether it’s due to death, divorce or a change in personal circumstances, it may become necessary for a name to be removed from a property deed. This is usually achieved by the person whose name is being removed completing a deed of conveyance.
Eliminating the ownership rights of those listed on a property deed typically involves removing their names from the deed as well as from the title. This can be done by completing a quitclaim deed. Simply enter all current owners under the grantor section and then including all present owners (minus the person to be removed) in the grantee section.
While the process will vary depending on city and county, here is the general process of how you can remove a name from the deed. Although you can generally complete the process yourself, it’s a good idea to seek legal counsel and have an attorney review the paperwork for you.
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What is a quitclaim deed?
When someone signs a quitclaim deed, it means that they are effectively giving up their claim or rights to the property. However, keep in mind that if they are still financially responsible for the asset, a quitclaim deed does not offer legal protection.
How can I remove a name from the title deed?
A deed of conveyance, such as a quitclaim deed, is the most common way to remove a name from the property deed. A deed of conveyance is usually completed by the property owner leaving the deed and title to the remaining owners of the property who intend to remain on the title.
Here is how you can remove a name from the property deed:
1. Discuss property ownership interests
If you’ve decided to change the property ownership interests in your co-borrowing arrangement, you should sit down and speak with the co-owners to reach an agreement about which names will be removed from the title and why. Reach an agreement about your share of the property, including who it will be transferred to and how the ownership structure will be formed.
2. Access copy of title deed
You’ll then need to get a copy of the title deed to verify that it currently includes a name you’d like to remove. You can get a copy from the county clerk office in the county or province where the property is located. In some cases, you may be able to obtain the deed online but this will vary depending on the location.
If you’re getting a copy from your local land registry office, you can search for your deed on their database or otherwise ask for assistance.
3. Complete, review and sign quitclaim form
You can get a quitclaim form online, from an office supply store, or from the county or city clerk’s office. The person whose name is to be removed must fill out the quitclaim form, using the same name that is represented on the title deed.
Quitclaim deeds are only valid if they have been executed correctly. Depending on the county, the parties to the deed must be accurately described and the deed must include the signature of the person conveying or granting the deed. A quitclaim deed is accepted when it is approved by the person receiving it. This is why it’s important that you clearly specify:
- The name of the grantor and grantee
- The county name where the deed will be signed
- The document number or reference in the county recorder’s office where the previous deed was filed
- The transfer purpose
- What the grantor will receive from the transfer (e.g. monetary amount)
- The relevant county, legal property description and tax parcel ID number
- The form of ownership
If the deed is correct, sign the deed as advised by the attorney. Sign in front of a certified notary witness (who is an authorized person that can authenticate legal documents including deeds and mortgages) and who can acknowledge each signature.
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4. Submit quitclaim form
Submit the quitclaim form at the county or city office where you obtained the original property deed. Depending on the state, this could be the county clerk office or the land registry office.
Keep in mind that some jurisdictions may require additional paperwork to supplement the quitclaim, such as tax documents. Check with your local office to make sure you have completed the required paperwork.
5. Request certified copy of quitclaim form
Ask for a certified copy of the quitclaim deed when you file it. You may need to pay a small fee for this, but it’s good to keep on file as it may be useful in case of a future property ownership dispute or amendment.
Frequently asked questions
Does removing someone’s name from the deed eliminate their mortgage obligation?
Removing someone’s name from the property deed does not remove their responsibility to pay the mortgage on the property. If the person is no longer financially responsible for making payments on the loan, the mortgage will need to be refinanced with another lender.
What about an involuntary deed removal?
It can be complicated to remove someone’s name from a property deed when the person doesn’t want their name to be removed. If necessary, you may need to go through partition actions which are lawsuits that force co-owners to give up their ownership interests. However, this can be costly and time-intensive so it’s best to avoid this where possible.
Will I have to pay excise tax?
It’s a good idea to speak with excise tax department personnel to help you determine whether or not you will be liable to pay excise tax when the deed is presented for recording.
What’s the difference between a quitclaim deed and a warranty deed?
A quitclaim deed represents the interest that the grantor has in the asset which excludes making warranties about rights that other people have in the property. On the other hand, a warranty deed represents title to a grantee with a guarantee of a clear title to the property that does not account for any interests held by external parties.
Where can I find the legal description of the property?
You can access the legal property description from the County Recorder’s Office by issuing your municipal address or tax parcel ID number.
Do I need a witness when I sign the deed?
The following states require you to use a witness in addition to a notary public in order for the deed to be deemed valid”
- South Carolina