Arizona law allows married couples to hold title to real estate as community property with right of survivorship (A.R.S. 33-431). With this type of ownership, the property becomes a shared marital asset. If one spouse dies, the other gains full rights to the title automatically, by function of law.
Even so, it is a good idea to enter the change into the public record. By completing and recording an affidavit of succession to interest in community property with right of survivorship, the remaining spouse formalizes the change and maintains clarity within the chain of title (ownership history), which should simplify future transactions regarding the land.
While a recorded affidavit clarifies who owns the property, the deceased owner’s name will remain on the actual deed. If the surviving spouse wishes to remove the name, he or she must execute and record a new deed, with a granting clause along the lines of “AB and BB (deceased) to AB….” This way, the deed reflects the most accurate and current information.
Related: Arizona Real Estate Deed Forms