Sometimes it becomes necessary to remove a person’s name from a property deed. This often happens in cases of divorce or death. Although it might seem like removing someone from a deed would be a simple process, it’s actually a complicated matter that is best left to a real estate law attorney.

Deeds of Conveyance

A deed establishes the legal owners of a property. Whoever is named on the deed is considered the owner of the property. In order to change legal ownership of a property, it must be transferred, or conveyed, by the owner to another person through a deed of conveyance.

There are two types of deeds of conveyance: quitclaim deeds and warranty deeds, but which one is better suited for the transaction depends on how the property is held and the purpose of the change in ownership.

Both quitclaim deeds and warranty deeds indicate that the seller/grantor has ownership of the property and a right to transfer their ownership to the buyer/grantee, but they do not provide similar levels of assurance. Quitclaim deeds provide no assurance that there isn’t another person who may also have claim to the property. This makes them a riskier choice in most situations.

Warranty deeds, on the other hand, do provide explicit assurance to the buyer/grantee that there aren’t any other people with claim to the property. That’s why warranty deeds are the most commonly used deed in typical real estate transactions.

Ownership Type Affects Deed Choice

Property can be owned by multiple parties or title may be held in different ways that affect the ownership rights. The type of property ownership determines how the property may be transferred via deed. Types of property ownership include:

  • Sole Ownership. One person owns the property.
  • Joint Tenancy. More than one person owns the property.
  • Rights of Survivorship. More than one person owns the property and each is entitled to inherit an equal share upon another owner’s death.
  • Tenants in Common. More than one person owns the property but none of them inherit any shares upon the death of another owner.
  • Tenancy by entirety. Two people own the property. They inherit each other’s shares upon the other person’s death.

Best Deed Choice Per Property Type

In general, warranty deeds are better in situations with multiple owners, in transactions between strangers, when money changes hands, and in any situation where the buyer wants assurance that the property is free from the ownership interests of other parties.

Quitclaim deeds are a better choice when property is being transferred between family members and no money changes hands. A good is example is siblings inheriting their parent’s property. A quitclaim deed can be used to establish the children as the new owners of the property by removing the deceased parents’ names from the deed. See our blog on additional consideration when using quitclaim deeds

Removing Names From Deeds Is Best Accomplished With Legal Assistance

There are several requirements that must be followed in order to legally remove someone’s name from a deed. Deeds are only valid if they are properly executed and delivered. In Florida, they should also be recorded with the local county clerk’s office.

Both types of deeds must name the grantor and grantee, include the date of transfer, the reason for the transfer, a legal description of the property, and the form of ownership, to name just a few of the requirements. They must also be signed in front of a notary public.

As you can see, transferring property is a complicated process in Florida and a misstep at any point in the transaction can invalidate the deed and impact the legal ownership of the property. In some cases, do-it-yourselfers have found themselves in trouble later on because there was a simple error on the deed.

A real estate attorney can ensure all processes are followed correctly and the new deed is valid, establishing proper legal ownership. Contact a real estate attorney at Kissimmee’s Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie & Finkenbinder, P.A. for advice on removing someone’s name from a deed or any of your other real estate law questions.

Call 407.847.5151 to arrange a consultation.