How to Remove a Dead Spouse From a House Deed in California

by Michelle Hickman ; Updated July 27, 2017
Remove a deceased spouse's name from the deed without a court hearing.

Items you will need

  • Certified copy of death certificate
  • Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant
  • Preliminary Change of Ownership form

When a man and woman marry in California, they can place the house and property into a joint tenancy. This joint tenancy gives ownership to both the husband and the wife for the duration of their lives, with both their names on the deed. If a joint tenant passes away, the spouse can change the deed so that his name is the only one that appears on the document.

Step 1

Obtain a death certificate regarding your spouse. Contact your county's Office of Vital Statistics or the California Health Department. You will have to pay a fee, so contact both places to find out the rates.

Step 2

Fill out an affidavit regarding the death of the joint tenant to the property. Obtain one online through your county's website. Download and print it out at no cost. Write in the required information, including a description concerning the home and property.

Step 3

Obtain a Preliminary Change of Ownership form from the county Assessor's Office. Fill out the form using information from the deed.

Step 4

Take the death certificate, change of ownership form and the affidavit to your county recorder's office. Pay the required fees to the recorder clerk. The recorder clerk verifies the documents and makes the changes accordingly before mailing you an updated deed.

About the Author

Based in southwestern Pennsylvania, Michelle Hickman has written since 2006 on an array of topics including lifestyle, writing instruction and financial services. Her first articles appeared in "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Focus Magazine." She holds a certification in computer and information science from Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.

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