Many people think that all they need to do to add someone to the title of a house is just to write their name in on the document. However, it is not that easy because the title or deed to a house is a legal document, recorded in the appropriate county courthouse. The appropriate procedure to add a person to a house title depends on the laws of the state where that house is located. Some states allow adding a person to a house title by filing a Quit Claim Deed, while other states require a new deed.
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Call the clerk of court's office for the county and ask for the department that takes care of filing house titles, also called deeds. In most counties, the recorder of deeds or register of deeds takes care of filing house titles.
Ask the clerk if you can add a name to the house title by filing a Quick Claim Deed or if you need to file a new deed. If you need to file a new deed, experts recommend having an attorney, title insurance company or real estate office prepare the new deed; they can also prepare a Quit Claim Deed, or you can do that yourself.
Call a lawyer, title company or real estate company if you decide to have someone else fill out the paperwork to add a person to the house title. Make an appointment to go in and see them, give them the information and pay for their services.
Pick up a blank Quit Claim Deed form from the county courthouse or your local office supply store if you decide to take care of it yourself.
Fill in all the information on the form, except the signature. Locate a notary public and have them notarise your signature.
Take the notarised form to the courthouse, or mail it in, with the required fee. If you mail the document, call the clerk in a few days to make sure they received it and recorded it.
Tips and warnings
- Because this is a legal document, which affects a large asset, experts strongly advise you to hire a professional to take care of adding a person's name to a house title. When you add another person's name to a house title, you give him or her ownership rights to the house. That means they can take out a mortgage or remodel the property. If you only want to give someone your house when you die, it is safer to do that through your will, according to Consumer Action, an advocacy organisation.
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