Article

Phase III Removing Someone from Title

This is the final part of our three-part series on changing the title of real property. In phase I, we discussed adding a name to the title, in phase II we discussed transferring title, and now phase III discusses removing someone from the title.

As we begin to look into why people want a name removed from the title, there are three common areas where we receive the most inquiries.

  • Divorce – couples are ending a relationship and one of the parties will retain the primary residence
  • Death – one of the owners is deceased
  • Change of Plans – one of the parties has decided they are no longer interested in the real property

Starting with divorce, in a simple separation, the couple generally has one property, their primary home. The divorce decree stipulates that one of the now ex-spouses is to sign a deed removing their interest from the home. We also find that in many cases there are multiple properties that may be in more than one state. An attorney’s expertise is the separation and divorce process. They often do not have the bandwidth, by choice, to handle the time involved for title transfers. That is why we are called in by the attorney to handle matters dealing with real property title transfers. A good analogy is, most CPAs do not want to do bookkeeping and it is much more cost-effective for the client to use a bookkeeper.

What we find is that most couples, once they receive the final signed divorce decree, forget to complete the process of removing one of the parties from the title. This will cause title issues down the road for both parties if it isn’t handled expeditiously. When one of the former spouses is in the process of purchasing a new home, it is at that time that this spouse needs to have their name removed from the title in order to qualify for the new home. The other side is that when the spouse that was awarded the property is attempting to sell the home and realizes that their ex is still on title. Either way, it is not always a pleasurable experience to have to deal with your ex-spouse.

Let’s move on to the circumstance of a deceased owner. Typically, a property is held by a husband and wife in Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship or as Community Property with Right of Survivorship. In this scenario, the deceased can be removed and the property is retained by the surviving owner and avoids the probate process. While this is true in most states, please always check with your local jurisdiction.

When the property is held in the name of a living trust, and one of the trustees or the last surviving trustee passes away, the property remains in the trust and the successor trustee is updated by affidavit or certificate of incumbency. In this scenario, the property also avoids having to go through probate.

The third common scenario deals with vacation or investment property when two or more people share ownership of common real property. It’s usually associated with a vacation home where one of the owners has a change of plans. In this case, the owners have agreed on how to split the equity between themselves and move on.

In the above three scenarios and several, we haven’t mentioned, clients are looking for the simplest and cleanest process to accomplish their goal of having a person(s) removed from the title. The options are to do it themselves, contact an attorney, or call us. As we have discussed, real property is involved in many facets of our lives. Whether you are adding, transferring, or removing someone from the title, making sure this is done properly, may save you from probate, financial expense, costly time delays, and lots of aggravation.

Quick Claim USA and its employees are not attorneys in the State of Nevada or in any other State or Jurisdiction. Quick Claim USA is not licensed to give legal advice and may not accept fees for giving legal advice. Should you have questions regarding any of the above items, you must seek the advice of independent legal/tax counsel of your choosing.

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