Removing a Deceased Joint Tenant from an Ohio Real Estate Deed

Removing a deceased joint tenant’s (or survivorship tenant’s) name from a real estate deed in Ohio is a fairly simple process. Once the beneficiary or co-tenant obtains an official copy of the decedent’s death certificate, he or she completes an affidavit of survivorship, and presents the information to the local agency responsible for maintaining land records. In Ohio, this is usually the county recorder or fiscal office. When properly completed and submitted for recording along with the copy of the death certificate and any other required documentation, the affidavit updates the ownership information for the property and preserves the chain of title (ownership history).

According to Ohio Revised Code 5302.17, when a person holding real property as a survivorship tenant dies, the transfer of the deceased co-owner’s interest may be recorded by presenting an affidavit of survivorship and a certified copy of the death certificate to the county auditor and filing the same documents with the county recorder.

This does not technically remove the deceased co-tenant’s name from the deed, but it transfers those property rights to the remaining tenant or tenants. The surviving co-tenant may execute and record a new deed with the information from the affidavit of survivorship, conveying the property from all co-tenants, including the one who died (identify that individual as deceased), to the surviving co-tenants. Then only the surviving tenants will appear as named owners of the real property.

Completing these tasks finalize the transfer of ownership, but to actually remove the decedent’s name from the deed requires the additional step of executing and recording a new deed. The new instrument lists all original owners as grantors, identifying the one who died, and lists the survivors as grantees. For example: AB and CD own real estate as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. AB dies. After submitting the affidavit of survivorship and certified copy of the death certificate to the auditor and recorder, CD executes a new deed. The grantor section lists AB (deceased) and CD as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The grantee section now identifies CD as a sole owner.