If a property owner dies, it can be difficult and confusing to remove their name from the title. However, this is a necessary process to keep the title to the property clean. Actually, what you have to do is transfer the title to the new legal owner. The procedure will depend on the value of the property, the type of title you have, the person who inherited it, and whether or not the deceased had a will. This process is also entirely dependent on the local records office. You can follow a few simple steps so you don't have to pay a lawyer, although you should be sure to look up information online at your local records office regarding the specific process and the fee charged for it where you live.
Method 1 of 4: Determine the Type of Property Title
Step 1. Determine the type of title deed by obtaining a copy of it
If the deceased does not have a copy of the title deed, you can get it for a small fee at the local records office.
Step 2. Be aware that it could be problematic if there was only one owner
In this case, there is only one person who owns the property (i.e. the deceased), so after his death the title will likely have to go through the probate process rather than easily being passed on to another person.
Step 3. See if it is a joint ownership
In this case, the owners of the property are more than one person in an equitable way, which means that, when one of them dies, the rights of the property are transferred equally to the other owners. However, in many places co-ownership is not recognized.
- Co-properties with the right of survivorship are a type of co-ownership in which it is specified that, upon the death of the owner, those who survive immediately become the owners. These are more widely accepted than co-properties that do not have a survivability specification.
- For example, if Juan and Julia had a co-ownership with a right of survivorship and Julia dies, Juan will be the new owner. This happens automatically and the property does not go through the legitimation process as does the rest of Julia's inheritance.
Step 4. Difference between a joint ownership and a common tenure
The latter also occurs when a property has more than one owner. However, in this case, the ownership percentages do not need to be equitable, and upon the death of one of the owners, their heirs become the owners of the property instead of the other owner.
For example, if Juan and Julia have a common tenure over a property and Julia dies, her part of the property is not transferred to Juan but undergoes the probate process and passes to his heirs or the beneficiaries that appear in his will.
Step 5. Understand what indivisible property is
This almost always applies only to marital property. In this case, neither of the two owners can make changes to the property automatically without the consent of the other. If one of the owners dies, the survivor will become the full owner.
For example, if Juan and Julia are married and own a house and Julia dies, Juan will automatically become the owner of the house and will be so absolutely and uniquely even if he has not gone through the legitimation process
Method 2 of 4: Remove the deceased from a sole property title
Step 1. Determine who the new legal owner should be
In the event that the deceased has left a will in which he / she designates one or more beneficiaries of the property, they will become the new owners. If the deceased died intestate (that is, without leaving a will), you will need to determine who owns the property by consulting the statutes regarding intestate inheritance where you live.
- In most places where Anglo-Saxon law applies, property passes to the spouse and heirs of the deceased through intestate inheritance law. The amount of inheritance that will be awarded to each of the heirs and their spouse (if any) is specific to local intestate inheritance legislation.
- Where community property applies, the surviving spouse (if any) is usually entitled to half of the community property. This is defined as all property acquired during the marriage.
Step 2. Remove the name of the deceased owner through legitimation
In the event that the new owner of the deceased's property appears in the will, this will must be legitimized in order to change the owner. The will must be presented in the probate court and the executor of the estate will initiate the probate process.
For example, if Julia was the sole owner of the house and she left it to her friend Maria after she died, Julia's executor would present her entire estate (including her house) for the probate process
Step 3. Wait for the title to be clean
At the conclusion of the probate process, the judge will usually rule that the "clean title" of the property be transferred to the beneficiaries under the will. This opinion is then recorded as it would be done with a property title.
Typically, a clean title is issued when the inheritance is closed. However, in some places (for example, California, USA), you can petition the court to order the title to be registered in your name before the probate process is complete as long as you can present evidence that you have a right to that property
Method 3 of 4: Remove the deceased without a probate process
Step 1. Determine who the correct owner is
In the event that it is a co-ownership with the right of survivorship, a marital property or a common tenure in which the deceased has left the property to the other owner (s), it is possible to change the title without going through the legitimation process.
Step 2. Obtain a death certificate
Surviving owners will need to present a certified death certificate proving that one of the owners died.
You can obtain a copy of the death certificate either by requesting it at the morgue or funeral home where final arrangements were made for the deceased or by contacting the local vital registration office and requesting a copy if they are not. you were able to obtain it at the time of death
Step 3. Write or fill out an affidavit of ownership
In the event that, in addition to the deceased, there are more than two owners, it may be necessary to submit an affidavit of ownership.
- This declaration is simply a document by which you verify that you are the owner. If you think you might have to file such an affidavit, you can find out more details by consulting your local authorities.
- It is also possible to create and print your own declaration of ownership here. This is the basic information that you should include in the declaration:
- A legal description of the property.
- A statement of ownership that includes all owners and information on how the ownership rights passed from the deceased to the new owners.
- A statement describing the history of possession of the property and whether there was a dispute over the title or lien.
- The purpose of the affidavit.
- Your signature or that of all the owners.
- The affidavit must be signed before a notary public, after which they will certify it before you can present it to court.
Method 4 of 4: Obtain a New Property Title
Step 1. Obtain a new property title
In reality, you cannot "remove" a person from a property title, but instead you must issue a new title that does not include the name of the deceased. This new title must be signed and certified by all new owners. You can obtain a copy of the title in one of the following ways:
Step 2. Go to court
Title deeds are usually found in probate court, and you should be able to obtain a copy for a small fee.
You can perform a search by your name, by the address of the property or by its legal description
Step 3. Mail or fax a title application
Generally, you must pay a similar fee for submitting the application by mail or fax as for obtaining the title in person.
You can check with the court where the title was registered to see if they accept applications by mail or fax
Step 4. Search online
In many places, it is possible to obtain a copy of the property title online and in some cases it is free.
For example, in the US, in Wayne County, Michigan, you can pay $ 5.00 to search for a property title online and $ 1.00 more to print a copy. On the other hand, in Georgetown County, South Carolina, you can search for property titles online for free
Step 5. Employ a title company
In some places, title companies close properties and register title deeds, so they can find a copy of yours if you don't want to do it in person.
Please note that depending on where you live, you will have to pay approximately $ 100.00 for this service along with additional fees for the title copy
Step 6. Do it through an attorney
A real estate attorney can obtain a copy of your title, and can help ease the process of removing the deceased's name from the title.
- Please note that this article is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, you should contact a real estate or estate planning and trust attorney.
- In some places, you must hire an attorney to submit an inheritance to probate, although it is permissible to file limited estate, survivor, or probate affidavits without the help of an attorney. To determine if you need to hire an attorney, you can check with your county clerk's office (or the equivalent where you live).
- In case the deceased has left a property in his will, the executor must ensure that the property has a "clean" title (that is, it has no liens or any other debt against the title of the property).
- To determine whether you will need to pay inheritance or estate taxes before transferring title to any property, you should consult with an attorney or certified public accountant.