Name Changes and the Real Estate Deed

If you have an interest in a piece of real estate, your ownership is reflected by your name on the deed. There are all sorts of reasons, short of a sale or purchase, requiring a name change on a real estate deed. Life happens, and that means marriage, divorce, death or just the changing of a legal name. It’s important that your real estate deeds reflect your current legal name and having your legal name on the deed makes the process much smoother if you want to put your property on the market or take out another mortgage.

When to Change the Name on the Deed

Perhaps you and your significant other purchased a house together prior to marriage, and now that you’ve tied the name, you’ve legally taken your spouse’s name. While changing the name on the deed isn’t something you must do immediately, it’s probably wise not to wait too long before making the switch. That’s because life continues to happen, and you want to be prepared. However, if something unexpected does happen and you haven’t yet changed the name on the deed, there are other ways to prove who you are. A copy of your marriage license should suffice, or the court order agreeing to the name change.

If your spouse has died and the property was owned jointly with right of survivorship, you don’t have to change the deed to reflect that the property is now owned by just one person. If you decide to sell your home or take out a mortgage, it’s just a matter of explaining in the new deed or new mortgage that your spouse has died.

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