How to Change Your Name on a Land Title in New York

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Property owners in New York state cannot add or change a name on a deed or title. Instead, they must file a new deed reflecting the change. However, if there is an error on the document, they can file a correction deed. A correction deed does not convey title – it simply perfects the original deed.

Real Property Deeds

A deed is a legal document that a property owner uses to convey or transfer a property's right, title and interest. An individual selling or transferring a property is known as the “grantor,” and the person buying or receiving it is known as the “grantee.” The monetary amount exchanged for a property is the “consideration.”

When transferring a deed in New York, certain requirements must be met for it to be valid. If they are not, the court can void the transaction:

  • Grantor must be of sound mind and be over 18 years old when transferring the deed.
  • Deed must identify the buyer and seller.
  • Deed must state the consideration, although it typically states only a nominal price, not actual amount exchanged.
  • Deed must include a granting clause showing the property’s transfer.
  • Deed must identify the property with its legal description.
  • Grantor must sign and acknowledge the deed.

Property’s Legal Description

The legal description of the property is the exact description that the court will accept. New York state generally describes property in “metes and bounds.” This description uses measurements and boundaries to give an accurate illustration of the piece of land being transferred. New York also allows the municipal tax block and lot number to define a property.

Types of Property Deeds in New York

New York state recognizes several types of property deeds. The most common include:

  • Deed With Full Covenants or General Warranty Deed:​ Gives the most protection to the grantee, as the grantor promises they are the property owner, have the right to sell the property, and that it is free from any liens or encumbrances unless otherwise identified in the deed. The title is good against those who challenge it, and the grantor is liable if title is not good.
  • Bargain and Sale Deed With Covenant or Limited Warranty Deed:​ Second to the Deed with Full Covenants in protection for the grantee. The grantor promises they have title to the property and they have done nothing to encumber it while owning it.
  • Bargain and Sale Deed:​ Gives the grantee no covenants and very little protection. It has no promises or warranties by the seller, who simply implies they have title to property. If they don’t have good title, the new owner cannot sue the seller.
  • Executor’s or Administrator’s Deed:​ Gives the same protection as a Bargain and Sale Deed and transfers a decedent’s real property to their heirs. Used when individual dies without a will.
  • Executor’s Deed:​ Used when an individual dies with a will.
  • Quitclaim Deed:​ Offers the least amount of protection for the buyer and contains no warranties or promises. It simply conveys whatever title and ownership interest the seller may have in the property. Family members and divorcing couples generally use quitclaim deeds.

New York state also recognizes these deed types:

  • Tax Deed:​ Conveys title to a buyer when the property’s taxes are not paid, and the property is sold for payment of back taxes.
  • Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure:​ Allows a seller to deed the property to a lender to avoid foreclosure when they are behind in payments.

Recording a Deed in New York State

Recording deeds takes place in county clerk’s offices throughout the state. The New York City Office of the City Register records and maintains real property transfers for property in all boroughs except Staten Island. The Richmond County Clerk handles deeds for properties on Staten Island.

Property records are public records that anyone can use to find information about a property, including mortgages and asset searches.

When submitting a deed for recording to the county clerk’s office, two forms are required:

  • A TP-584 or Combined Real Estate Form is used to comply with the requirements of the real estate transfer tax, the tax on mortgages as applied to the Credit Line Mortgage Certificate, and the estimated personal income tax exemption as applied to the transfer or sale of real property. A TP-584-NYC is used in New York City.
  • A RP-5217 or the Equalization and Assessment Form gives pertinent information about the property. An RP-5217NYC is used in New York City.

Changing the Name on a Deed

New York state does not allow name changes on a deed – a new deed must be recorded. A person who wishes to add or change a name on a deed can either draft the new deed form on their own or consult a real estate attorney to help them.

When filing a deed with a name change, they will file it in the same way they filed the original deed – with the county clerk’s office in their area or the Office of the City Register in New York City. Recording fees for filing a deed vary from county to county. For example:

  • In the Broom County Clerk’s office, deeds are $45, with an additional $5 per page.
  • In New York City, deeds are $32, with an additional $5 per page and $5 for a cover page.

Correcting Errors on a Deed in New York

While people can’t change a name on a deed without making a new one, they can make corrections to it using a corrective deed, also known as a confirmatory deed. The correction deed confirms an existing title, but doesn’t replace it; it simply perfects the deed that was created earlier.

In New York, the correction deed explicitly states that an earlier deed requires correction. This deed states the date of the original’s execution and recording and its document ID number.

The correction deed also identifies the errors made in the original and the correct information and gives an explanation as to why the correction is needed. A correction deed does not transfer title; the individual won’t be subject to a transfer tax because no transfer has occurred.

Filing a Correction Deed

The individual files the correction deed in the same way they filed the original – with the county clerk’s office in their area or the Office of the City Register in New York City. They will need to include a new Equalization and Assessment Form and new Combined Real Estate Form with original signatures.

When filing a correction deed, applicants should include proof that they already paid the transfer tax. They can do this by including the original deed’s cover page from the prior deed or by filing an affidavit stating that they paid tax with the prior document.

Removing a Name From a Deed

A person cannot remove someone else's name from a deed without that person's knowledge, consent or signature, unless they have a court order, for example, through a foreclosure. If an owner chooses to be removed from a deed, that requires the filing of a new deed.

However, if two or more people own real property as tenants in common, a co-owner cannot remove the other co-owner through the execution of a new deed. A co-owner can only convey the portion they own.

In a divorce, one party typically departs the property, while the other retains it on their own or as part of the settlement. Divorcing spouses will use a quitclaim deed in real estate transfers, as they are not guaranteeing anything about the property, such as its condition, equity or value. This deed merely transfers the grantor's interest in the property to the grantee.

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