In a recent article written by nwitimes.com, this question was asked in regard to estate planning. “My father passed away recently, how do we remove his name from the title to the home? Can we record a death certificate or have mom sign a new deed?”
This is a normal estate planning question, and the answer is simple. The first thing you need to determine however is how the homeowners held title to the home. There are two options here, did your parents own the home as husband and wife, legally known as tenants by entirety? Or did they own the home as Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship?
If they owned the home as husband and wife through tenants by entirety, it creates ownership interest in which the spouses own the property jointly as a couple and not as individuals. This creates the rights of survivorship so that the survivor owns the property as a matter of law at the death of the first spouse.
If they owned the home through joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, then some of the legalities will differ as long as both the spouses are still alive, but it doesn’t affect the end result of this question.
Assuming that the parents owned the home as tenants by entireties or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the surviving spouse owns the house as a matter of law at the time of death. We would notify the recorder’s office of the death by preparing a surviving spouse affidavit or surviving joint tenant affidavit. That puts the recorder and the public on notice that one of the homeowners has died and the survivor of them now owns the home.
Since we submit the affidavit, there’s no reason to record a death certificate because the affidavit makes important recitals that can prove the change of title. There also won’t be a deed since the surviving spouse owns the property at the moment of death. The affidavit will demonstrate proof of transfer of title in place of a deed.
If you’re unsure what kind of title you hold on your home as a married couple, or you have additional questions regarding ownership of your home, contact the estate planning lawyers at Rhodes Law Firm. At Rhodes Law Firm, we assist you and give the peace of mind you deserve.