When you own a property, it’s possible at some point in your life that you may want to retitle that investment for any number of reasons. Perhaps you want to retitle the property so it is part of a living trust you have created, so that your heirs will inherit the benefit of your hard work without the pain and expense of going through probate. Maybe a name must be removed from the property title. Perhaps you want to change the ownership of an asset, or even transfer it to an LLC. Or maybe you’ve gotten married and you want to share your assets with your spouse. For all of these reasons and more, retitling property is a common occurrence.
That said, most of us who work outside the title insurance industry don’t retitle property every day. So, like most people, you probably wonder how to get the job done right. Here’s a guide to help you along the way.
First Stop: Consider Consulting a Real Estate Attorney
First, you will likely want to consult with a qualified attorney, most likely a real estate attorney, who can help you through the process. This can ensure the process is completed correctly. According to wealthpilgrim.com, your attorney can draw up a new deed and make arrangements for it to be recorded.
Prepare and File the Necessary Documents
The title of the property establishes the ownership of the property and the legal rights to it. To transfer the title or change it, you will use the property deed. Your real estate attorney will take care of the preparation of the real estate transfer deed, have you sign it and will file it at the right county recorder’s office. Your attorney will also be responsible for putting together the legal description of the property, as detailed on www.realtor.com, “How to Transfer a Real Estate Deed.”
In addition, the attorney will confirm who currently owns the property and will seek out the supporting documents needed for your particular needs. For example:
- If one of the owners of the property has passed away, a copy of the official death certificate will be required.
- If the property is being transferred to a trust, the attorney will need a certificate of trust or abstract of trust. After the real estate is transferred to the trust, the trustee is responsible for the property and all associated obligations, like taxes and the mortgage, according to www.dummies.com, “How to Transfer Real Estate Into a Trust.”
- If transferring the property to a business, they will need an article of incorporation or a certificate of formation. If the property is being transferred from a parent to a child, the parent will need to fill out a “quitclaim deed,” in what is considered to be a relatively straightforward transfer, often not requiring an attorney. If there is still a mortgage on the property, the heir will need to secure a loan before the property transfer is completed. A notary will need to be present for the signing of the deed, according to www.realtor.com.
Final Steps to Retitling Property
Typically, the process of filing and recording a new real estate deed can take about four to eight weeks, and the new deed will arrive in the mail.
While it’s considered to be a common and relatively uncomplicated process, retitling property is not to be taken lightly. As a part of your due diligence, be sure if you are transferring the deed to trustees that they are covered by your title insurance. If not, you’ll want to take the appropriate steps to make sure your investment is protected for the long haul.