When you want to change your property's title to include the right of survivorship, you do it by redeeding the property "as joint tenants with rights of survivorship," or JTWROS. Changing the title vesting to JTWROS allows the ownership of the property to automatically pass to the other owner when one dies. It's frequently done by married and unmarried couples who don't want their house to have to pass through probate. Usually, you can do this with a simple quitclaim deed.
Talk to a real estate attorney. This is especially important if you are making any change to the actual people who own the property as opposed to just changing the way in which you own the property. Even if you are comfortable with looking up the old deed, preparing a new one and having it recorded, the attorney can advise you on the ramifications of changing your property's title vesting.
Look up your old deed to determine the exact title vesting. If you don't have a copy of your deed in your closing papers, it's kept on public record at your county recorder's office. You may need to pay a small fee to have a copy of the deed made.
Fill in a blank quitclaim deed, which is available from a title company or may also be available from your county recorder's office. You will need to have the old owner, written exactly as it was on the old deed, quitclaim the ownership to the new owner as joint tenants. The language you will use varies depending on your state's laws. You will also need to fill in your property's legal description as it appears on your old deed.
Sign and date the deed in front of a notary. Every owner named on the old deed will need to sign the new one and have their signatures notarized.
Bring the deed to your county recorder's office and have it recorded. You will usually have to pay a fee for the service. This will make your change of title official.
A title company may be able to help you with the research, deed creation and recording process.
A deed is a binding legal document and, if you make a mistake filling it out, you could give away the ownership to your house. If you aren't completely sure that you know what you're doing, enlist professional assistance.
Changing property ownership, as opposed to just giving another owner survivorship rights, could have other ramifications, which include triggering transfer tax liability, gift tax liability and a reassessment for property tax purposes.
- Stewart Virtual Underwriter: OK Deed-Quitclaim (Joint Tenancy) 1
- Stewart Virtual Underwriter: MT Deed-Quitclaim (Joint Tenancy) 1
- Stewart Virtual Underwriter: CT Deed - Quitclaim (Survivorship Form)
- Nolo: How Unmarried Couples Can Co-Own or Take Title to a Home
- California State Board of Equalization: Change in Ownership - Frequently Asked Questions
- Retirement Planning Services, Inc.: Property Ownership Issues That Concern Unmarried Couples
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