How to Remove a Name From a Property Deed in Maryland

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When changing the information on a deed in Maryland, the preparation of a new deed must take place. Changing or removing someone from a property deed changes the property's ownership – this is known as a "conveyance." The owner then files the new deed with the Division of Land Records in their county.

Deeds vs. Titles

A deed is a signed and written legal document that transfers real estate ownership. Maryland law states that a deed must include:

  • Grantor's (seller's) name.
  • Grantee's (buyer's name).
  • Description of the property.
  • Interest the grantor intends to convey.

The state requires the recording of deeds with the county Division of Land Records of the property location. When changing the information on an existing deed, a new one typically must be prepared and filed.

A property title is not a physical document – it is a concept that conveys a property's legal ownership and the rights to that property. A deed is the document that conveys those rights. The legal property owner has:

  • Right of possession: Right to be on that property.
  • Right of control: Use of their property in any legal manner.
  • Right of exclusion: Right to invite someone onto their property or remove them from it.
  • Right of enjoyment: Right to live peacefully on their property and not be bothered by others.
  • Right of disposition: Right to transfer ownership of their property.

How to Remove Someone From a Deed

A person who wants to remove someone from a property deed can prepare the deed themselves or have an attorney do it. A deed typically states the price of purchase (consideration), but if the grantor wants to add a co-owner or gift the real property to another, the deed must say that no consideration is changing hands.

The deed will include a "certificate of preparation," which states that its creation is by or under the direction of a Maryland attorney or a party on the deed, which the attorney or party will sign in front of a notary public.

Payment of Liens and Obligations

A lien certificate shows the status of any outstanding taxes or other financial obligations owed on a property. Before recording a new deed, the property owner must fill out a lien certificate application (if their county requires it), pay outstanding financial obligations to that county, and submit the application with a fee to the office of finance. The preparation of a lien certificate can take a few days or several weeks.

The property owner must also complete a State of Maryland Land Instrument Intake Sheet to determine the transfer and recordation taxes, if applicable. After payment of the outstanding obligations noted on the lien certificate, the county office of finance will accept the intake sheet.

Taxes When Transferring Property

To transfer property, the owner must pay taxes, which can include county and state transfer taxes and a recordation tax. Some property transfers may have exemptions from these taxes, for example, gifts to a family member or if a parent owns property with no debt and freely transfers it to their child, that child will not have to pay a state recordation tax.

However, the outcome may be different if they wish to give their child a property with a mortgage – if the transfer necessitates mortgage refinancing, that child is essentially "buying" the property for the residual mortgage. The transfer then involves consideration and is subject to recordation tax.

Maryland counties and municipalities have different procedures and taxes, all of which can be verified by contacting the county Division of Land Records of Office of Finance in the county where the property is located. If the county determines there is a tax exemption, it will stamp the deed noting the exemption.

Recording the New Deed

Once payment of all required fees and taxes has taken place, the owner takes the original deed, a copy of it, and the completed Intake Sheet to the Division of Land Records in their county with payment for the recording fee. The court will send the copy of the deed to the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation.

After certainty that the submission of all the proper documents has taken place, the records clerk will record them. Afterward, the clerk's office will mail the original deed back to the owner, which takes about four to six weeks with no charge. Any requests for payment for a copy of the deed after its recording are typically fraudulent.

Consulting an Attorney

When removing or adding a name from a deed and creating a new one, no government officials can advise a property owner on the writing of the deed or if it will accomplish what they want it to. The exact type of deed they'll use and the necessary words used when creating it can have significantly different results than intended.

If a person creating a deed is uncertain as to how to go about it, it is in their best interest to seek the legal advice of an experienced attorney.