A deed is a legal document that shows the ownership of real property, such as a home, parcel of land or a condominium. All parties named on the deed have an interest in the property, typically either sole ownership or some form of joint ownership with others who are also named. To remove a name from a deed you typically must file a quitclaim deed, while adding or changing names usually requires that you file a deed of conveyance.
Get a copy of the deed and verify that it includes a name you wish to remove. You can obtain a copy from the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. In some cases you may be able to request the deed online, but that varies by location and by the age of the deed. Typically the clerk’s office charges a small fee for providing the document. In some locations, such as New York, a city rather than a county office may handle this function.
Complete a quitclaim form. You can get this form at a stationery store, at the city or county clerk’s office, or online in some areas. This is the document used to remove a person’s name from a deed and is often used when making changes to property within a family, such as in cases of divorce. The person whose name is to be removed must fill out the quitclaim form, using the same version of his name as is shown on the deed. The quitclaim form must also be notarized, proving that it is actually the named person who is signing it.
Review the document carefully. Any errors could cause you to end up with a faulty title, which will result in problems in the future. While title insurance companies catch and correct such errors, when filing the title yourself it’s up to you to make sure it’s right. Ideally at least two people should review the title to check for accuracy.
File the quitclaim form with the city or county office where you obtained the original property deed. Some jurisdictions may require additional paperwork, such as tax documents, to supplement the quitclaim form. Check with your local office to make sure you are filing all necessary documentation.
Request a certified copy of the quitclaim deed from the recorder’s office at the time you file it. There may be a minimal charge for this, but it can help you if the filing ever comes into question. Keep the copy in a safe place.
- Many attorneys will complete this process for you, if you prefer. Charges can vary significantly. You may also be able to get help from a title company, usually for much less than an attorney would charge.
- Removing someone’s name from a deed does not remove his obligation to pay his portion of any mortgage on the property. The loan must also be refinanced in a separate action if he is no longer financially responsible. In cases of divorce, this is normally handled as a part of the settlement proceedings.
- NYC Finance: Recording A Deed, Mortgage, or Mortgage Satisfaction
- King County Recorder’s Office: Frequently Asked Questions: How Do I Get a Copy of My Deed?
- Financial Web: Quitclaim Deeds: 4 Things to Know Before Signing
- Northwest Justice Project: Quitclaim Deeds and Life Estates
- Washington State: Consumer’s Guide to Title Insurance and Escrow Services (pg 3)
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