How to Change Names on Property Deeds

By Joe Stone ; Updated March 30, 2017
Couple talking with financial advisor

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Changing the names on a property deed means you're removing the ownership interest of an owner in favor of new one. This transfer of ownership involves preparing and signing a new deed and delivering it to the new property owner.

Certain Deeds Give New Owners Protection

These types of deeds are used to change property ownership and provide different levels of protection against title defects:

  • General warranty deeds provide the greatest protection
  • Special warranty deeds provide limited protection
  • Grant deeds provide limited protection
  • Deeds without warranty provide no protection
  • Quitclaim deeds provide no protection 

The primary difference among these deeds is the level of protection against title defects provided to thenew owner. Examples of title defects include unpaid taxes, judgment liens and ownership claims by others.

Situations Determine Type of Deed Used

The reason for changing property ownership generally determines the deed type. In a typical real estate sale involving unrelated sellers and buyers, a general warranty deed is often used. However, real estate practices in a state may also be a factor. Special warranty deeds and grant deeds are useful when changing ownership for gift-giving purposes or due to marriage. In situations, such as divorce, a quitclaim deed is often used.

Preparing a Deed for Name Changes

Pre-printed forms for all types of deeds are generally available from several sources such as the county clerk's office and title companies, with many making the forms available online. The minimum information needed to complete the deed is usually:

  • Names of current owners, or the "grantors"
  • Names of new owners, the "grantees"
  • Property's legal description, such as it's address or parcel number
  • County where the property is located
  • Statement of "consideration" – that is, the amount paid for the transfer.

When there is more than one new owner, you must provide the new vesting – how you will share title. Common forms of vesting include joint tenancy, tenants-in-common and community property.

Signed, Delivered and Recorded

To be effective, a deed must be properly signed, notarized and delivered. This is all that's necessary to make the name changes effective; however, standard real estate practice in your area, especially for the sale of a home, may require filing the deed with the county recorder's office, or similar government entity. These government offices may require you to submit additional information and complete other forms when filing a new deed.

About the Author

Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.