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. A Married Couple 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 Law, 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.

Deciding to buy a home is the largest investment most people make in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many homebuyers do not understand the terms of the paperwork they sign in the process. If homebuyers aren’t savvy, they can end up among those facing legal disputes over home purchases. Here are 3 ways to protect yourself from common pitfalls:

  1. Don’t Take Your Purchase Offer Lightly.

When you submit an offer on a home, you are agreeing to enter into a legally binding contract (if the seller accepts). While there may be contingencies that allow you to terminate the contract, once signed, it can be difficult and expensive to get out of.

A real estate agent can help you fill out a standard offer contract. It is wise to also have a qualified real estate attorney review the offer before it is submitted. A real estate attorney can advise you on your legal rights and obligations under the purchase offer and help you change the terms to best protect you.

  1. Take Advantage Of The Inspection Period.

This is one of the most important steps in the transaction. The Inspection period begins as soon as the seller accepts your offer, allowing you a set number of days to complete the inspection and determine whether you will move forward with the home purchase. While a seller must legally disclose any “known defects” to a buyer, in Florida it is the homebuyer’s responsibility to have the home inspected to discover any issues that may be present in the home.

Hire a qualified home inspector. A home inspection may reveal defects that change your decision to purchase the home and save you from costly repairs.

  1. Don’t Forego Title Insurance.

As part of the real estate transaction, a title agent or real estate attorney will complete a title search to review the “title” to the property that is being purchased. They will ensure that the property is free from encumbrances, liens and defects. The title agent or real estate attorney will then issue a title insurance policy insuring that it will compensate the insured if a defect, lien or encumbrance is uncovered later. Common title issues include unknown liens, deed fraud and boundary disputes. Don’t leave your property at risk, purchase title insurance.

Jennifer R. Bondy
Overstreet Law, P.A.

Unlike many other states, Florida does not require the use of an attorney during a real estate transaction. Buyers and sellers have the choice of using an attorney or a title company to handle the closing on their real estate transaction. This often causes the parties to wonder why they should hire an attorney instead of a title company to handle their closing.

In this post, we want to share with you 4 reasons why a title company is not a substitute for an experienced real estate attorney.

4 Advantages To Hiring A Real Estate Attorney For Florida Property Transactions

1. A title company works for the title insurer, not the buyer or the seller, whereas real estate attorneys work for whomever hires them. Once hired, an attorney represents that client throughout the transaction – in addition to overseeing the transaction to completion, they look out for their clients’ best interest and advocate for their client. The title company’s role is to prepare the basic closing documents required by the title insurer to complete the transaction and issue the title insurance policy.

2. Title agents do not have law degrees and cannot provide legal advice. When there are problems or questions, the buyer/seller can’t turn to the title company for help or advice. One of the most common issues that comes up is how to take title to the property, which has legal and tax ramifications. A title agent cannot provide advice in this situation, but an attorney can. Realtors as well as the buyer/seller, benefit from working with attorneys since the attorney can review the contract and answer legal questions during the contract negotiation process; title companies cannot. 

3. Title agents cannot create contract addenda, address problems in the sales contract, deal with non-standard forms, or correct legal issues that affect the title. This is important because if an issue arises, corrective documents may need to be obtained or created. Attorneys can provide legal advice on the best way to handle the issue, as well as prepare necessary documents, title agents cannot. Depending on the issue, a title agent will in fact have to send parties out to hire an attorney (at their own expense) to handle specific problems. Not having an attorney can delay the closing or even cause the transaction to fall apart entirely.

4. The costs of hiring a title company vs. an attorney are comparable. Many closing costs such as title insurance premiums, documentary stamps, and recording costs are set by the State of Florida. They are the same whether an attorney or a title agent is facilitating the process. In some cases, using an attorney can actually save the parties money by performing double duty as an attorney and a title agent; a title agent cannot do the same.

To learn more about the real estate services at Overstreet Law, P.A, contact us at 407.847.5151.