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What Happens When a Deed to a Joint Property is Still in the Deceased Spouse’s Name?

Know The Proper Procedure When It Comes To Your Property’s Title

It is relatively common that spouses own property jointly, either through joint tenancy with a right of survivorship or by tenants in the entirety. Officially, when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse gains legal rights to the entire property immediately when that property is titled jointly. This means that the surviving spouse has the right to do what they like with the property, including selling it or refinancing it, as soon as possible. However, the reality is, regardless of what the official legal ownership is, banks and sellers want the title to be up to date when any transaction is done involving that property. This means that, even though jointly held property is not part of the probated estate, you should have a Westchester estate attorney who is familiar with matters involving jointly held property on your side.

Since almost all banks or sellers want to have an up to date title on formerly jointly held property where one of the owners died, getting a new title should be the first thing that the surviving spouse should do when they are planning to sell the house. In order to switch a deed from one that is jointly held between spouses to the surviving spouse only, a new deed needs to be drafted with the assistance of a Westchester estate attorney and then filed with the Westchester County Clerk Land Records Division located in the courthouse in White Plains. Along with the deed, there is a modest fee that must be filed for transferring the deed into the surviving spouse’s name alone, an amount that changes depending on the type of property and other factors such as the number of pages in the deed.

Along with the deed and the fee, other things that need to be included for transferring the deed include a copy of the old deed and a death certificate. If the old deed has been lost, you can get a certified copy from the Land Records Division. Once the new deed has been filed along with all fees, it will be digitally scanned and will be sent back to you. If you need a certified copy to use for selling or refinancing your property quickly, you should also send in payment to get a certified copy of the new deed, the cost of which changes based on the number of pages the deed is.

It is very important to have any deed drawn up properly to avoid future problems. Having clean title to a property is essential when or if you decide to sell it in the future and having errors on your deed can create real legal issues for you and could possibly cause the loss of potential buyers. Because of this, having a Westchester estate attorney with a good understanding of all that is involved in switching a deed over when a spouse dies is something that you must have to protect yourself and to have a smooth sale later on. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.