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Rightful owners of a property will be listed on the deeds of the property. But in some cases, there may be a need to remove a person from the title, whether because of a divorce, death, or other significant change. 

In order to remove a person from a deed, a specific form will need to be completed, along with specific documents to support the claim. Let’s take a closer look at what is required to complete this process.

Reasons You May Want To Remove Someone’s Name From A Property Deed

There are a few situations that may warrant the removal of a person from a property deed, including the following:

Divorce 

In the event of a divorce, there will be the issue of dividing assets to deal with. When it comes to real estate, the ex-spouses have two options: either sell the home and split the proceeds of the sale, or one person can buy the other out. In the case of the latter, the person who wants to keep the home and buy it out from the other person will have to discharge the existing mortgage, which can be done by refinancing and obtaining a new home loan. 

The ex-spouse who is exiting the deal will be given their share of the property value, after which the remaining person will own the home entirely and be obligated to make all the mortgage payments going forward.

Co-Owner Disagreements

If you have more than one person on the title of a property and there is a disagreement among you on how to use or manage the property, you may want to remove yourself or the other owner from the deed.

Death Of An Owner

When a person on a property deed passes away, the property will need to be transferred to the living owners.

To Clarify Ownership Of A Given Property

There may be times when the title to a property must be established or settled. In this case, a “quiet title” action may be involved to remove, or “quiet,” an objection or claim to a title. This may be more common in the event of the death of an owner, after which a disagreement may ensue among the heirs regarding whether or not all heirs have been informed of the sale of the estate. 

Issues may also arise where a mortgage lender who has an interest in the property wasn’t dealt with properly after the mortgage was fully repaid. Further, there may be instances in which a property has been unoccupied for a while and outside parties make bids for its purchase. In this case, the title will need to be cleared.

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Ways To Remove A Name From A Title Deed

There are a couple of ways to remove a name from the title of a property: through quitclaim and warranty deeds.

Quitclaim Deed 

A quitclaim deed involves transferring any ownership interest that the seller has in the property. In this situation, there is no promise made about whether or not the title is free and clear of any liens or other issues, or whether there are any other rightful owners on the title. It simply involves the transfer of ownership interest to another person without making any guarantees.

With a quitclaim deed, you’re “quitting” or surrendering your rights or claim to the subject property. It’s a bit risky, as there is no exchange of money or warranties, so there’s little protection for the buyer. Guide to the heightened level of risk, quitclaim deeds are typically used to transfer property among spouses after a divorce or among family members, to clear up title issues, or to gift the home to someone.

While risky for buyers, sellers are protected from being sued by family members or ex-spouses if an issue with the deed arises at some point in the future. 

Warranty Deed 

Unlike a quitclaim deed, a warranty deed offers legal assurances to buyers. It stipulates that the seller has the right to transfer the property and that no one else owns it. It also assures that no debts or liens exist on the property. As such, a warranty deed promises that the seller is the rightful owner of the property and the title is in good standing.

Warranty deeds are generally used for real estate deals or between buyers and sellers who are acting independently without any influence on one party from the other and protect buyers from any issues on title. Anyone who signs a warranty deed understands that they will not face any issues such as liens, unpaid taxes, or ownership disputes.

Process Of Removing A Name From A Title Deed

To remove a person from a title on a property, follow these steps:

Understand Your Property Ownership Goals

Speak to other co-owners of your intentions and desires in order to come to an agreement about who will be removed from the title. If you are the person being removed from the title, make sure you understand your share of the property and who you are transferring your interests too. 

Decide which avenue to take to remove the person from the title; namely, choose between a quitclaim deed or warranty deed. 

Get A Copy Of The Deed

Be sure to obtain a copy of the title to verify whether or not the person you wish to remove is on there.

Gather Your Documents

You’ll need to have a few pertinent documents in order when removing a person from the title, such as the following:

  • Title deed
  • Quitclaim deed or warranty deed form
  • Land transfer form

Complete The Forms

You’ll need to provide certain pieces of information when completing your form, including the following:

  • Name of the person transferring ownership and the person who ownership is being transferred to
  • Property address 
  • Date of the transfer
  • Location where the deed is being signed 
  • Document number from the land title office where the prior deed was filed
  • Reason for the transfer
  • What the grantor will be receiving from the transfer 
  • Pertinent financial and tax information, such as the legal description of the property
  • Type form of ownership 

Submit Your Form

After you’ve completed your forms and gathered all necessary paperwork, submit your form to the land registry office where the original property deed was obtained from. 

Special Cases 

There are certain situations that may require additional information or steps to take before the person can be removed from a property deed. Most notably, this may happen when an owner has passed away.

In order to remove the name of a person who has died from a deed, that person’s share of ownership will need to be transferred to the remaining living owners. Regardless of whether or not the person had a living will, you will be required to submit specific documents to the land registry office in your province as a surviving owner, including the following:

  • Death certificate. Proof will need to be provided in the form of a death certificate of the person who passed away.
  • Notarized affidavit. This is a sworn statement that the courts use to confirm the person’s death and your new ownership. 
  • The new property deed. You’ll need to sign and notarize the new deed, along with any other owners on title. 

If all owners on the title have died, additional steps will need to be taken. If you are named an owner through a deceased individual’s will or by court decision, the property deed will have to be modified to show that you are the new owner.

The original property deed should be carefully reviewed, and confirmation should be made to ensure that the property was not jointly owned when the owners died. If it wasn’t, you will need to draft a new deed to replace the existing one.

If an executor is involved — which is an individual who receives the estate of a deceased person — they’ll be responsible for administering and distributing the estate according to the will or the courts. An executor’s deed will need to include the names of the previous owners, confirmation that the will has gone through probate, and proof that the executor is authorized to transfer the deed. 

The deed must be signed in the presence of a notary public.

Property Deed FAQs

How much does it cost to remove a person’s name from a deed?

The cost associated with removing a person’s name from a property deed will depend on how much your lawyer charges you for their services and where you live. That said, you could be paying anywhere from $350 to $500 or more. 

Can I cancel my property transfer quitclaim deed after it has been signed?

No. The deed will be considered a legally binding document after it has been signed, notarized, and recorded. At this point, it cannot be cancelled unless you’re able to prove in court that the deed was signed under duress or is fraudulent.
 

Can I remove someone’s name from a property deed by force?

If you want to force someone’s name off a deed, you will need to hire a lawyer and take legal action to do so. 

Does removing a person from the property deed mean they are no longer obligated to pay the mortgage? 

No. A deed and a mortgage are two different things. Just because a person’s name has been removed from the title does not mean they are free from their mortgage obligations. If their name still exists on the mortgage, they are still required to contribute to the mortgage payments.  If the person being removed from the deed wants to alleviate their mortgage obligations, the remaining owners will have to refinance the home loan to pay off the current mortgage and enter into a new mortgage agreement without the former owner. If a new mortgage cannot be secured, then the property might need to be sold to repay the mortgage in full and alleviate all debts of the owners. 

What types of property ownership are there?

There are several types of ownership, including the following:
  • Sole. If only one person is on title of property, this is referred to as sole ownership. 
  • Joint. Two people who own a property together are part of what’s known as joint ownership. which is a common scenario among married or common-law spouses.
  • Tenants in common. This arrangement involves two or more people sharing ownership rights in a property. When a tenant in common passes away, the property is passed on to that tenant’s estate. Each independent owner may have an equal or different share in the property.
  • Tenancy by entirety. This is a type of ownership whereby each spouse owns an undivided interest in the property. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse holds the title.
  • Rights of survivorship. This is a legal arrangement whereby two or more people jointly own an asset, and when one of the individuals passes away, the property automatically transfers to the remaining joint owner. 

Final Thoughts

Removing a person’s name from a property deed requires a few steps to be taken. That said, you may have a valid reason for wanting or needing to remove a person from the title. Depending on the complexity of the situation, you may want to enlist the services of an attorney to ensure the process is done properly.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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