How to Remove a Name From a House Title After Death

Written by laura reynolds
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How to Remove a Name From a House Title After Death
Removing a deceased joint tenant's name is not too complicated. (signing a contract image by William Berry from

Changing the name on a title to real estate property is one of the important things to accomplish when a loved one dies. In many cases, it's important to consult an attorney before attempting to remove the name of a deceased person from a title. Specific state laws apply to any real estate transfer, so know the requirements in your state before attempting to alter your title. If the title is one of joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, such as between married persons, however, the process can be fairly simple.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Certified death certificate
  • Application for termination of interest by deceased
  • Document with legal description of property, owners and type of tenancy

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  1. 1

    Determine whether your title is made in joint tenancy or tenancy in common. Rights of survivorship are conferred by joint tenancy. Removing a name from a tenancy in common must be negotiated with the deceased's heirs and may involve probate proceedings in court; consult an attorney first in this case.

  2. 2

    Obtain a certified copy of the death certificate from the register of deeds or health department in the county where the death occurred. The keeper of this "vital record" will require you to prove your relation to the deceased before providing you with a certified copy of the death certificate, which is a legal document. Most registrars charge a fee for production of a death certificate.

    How to Remove a Name From a House Title After Death
    Only a certified document is legal proof of death. (path in a cemetary image by Xavier MARCHANT from
  3. 3

    Fill out a petition requesting termination of the decedent's interest in the property. These filings vary from state to state and may be as simple as a form that serves as a summary of the transaction or several affidavits. The type and number of filings is determined by the county and state where the title was issued.

    How to Remove a Name From a House Title After Death
    Title documents are kept in county Register of Deeds offices. (old french books image by phizics from
  4. 4

    File the petition for termination of interest and appropriate affidavits with the registrar of the county where the title was originally filed. Registrars commonly require a certified death certificate of the deceased and a copy of a document with the legal description of the property showing that it is held in joint tenancy with the petition. Tax bills often provide property information; check with the registrar to find out what document is accepted in the county.

  5. 5

    Pay filing fees along with your application. These fees vary widely and are set by each county; ask to see a printed schedule of fees if you have any questions. Registrars charge to make copies of filings so make your own copies before filing the originals.

Tips and warnings

  • Contact the registrar where you will file your request for information on forms or fees that you may need before attempting to file on your own.
  • Considering the fees and local differences in even a simple joint tenancy-survivorship transaction, you may want to consult with an experienced real estate attorney, who could complete the transaction quickly and correctly for a modest fee; your state's bar association should have a referral service.
  • Records are kept by counties, not states. File requests for death certificates in the county where the person died and title changes in the county where your property is registered.

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