Existing property owners may desire to add a new owner in a variety of circumstances without sacrificing their own interest. This frequently happens following a marriage when the owner of the property prior to the marriage wishes to include the new spouse on the deed. It also happens when parents want to include a child in a deed to give the child survivorship rights or another type of property interest.
Adding someone to your house deed requires the filing of a legal form known as a
. When executed and notarized, the quitclaim deed legally overrides the current deed to your home. By filing the quitclaim deed, you can add someone to the title of your home, in effect transferring a share of ownership.
Adding the New Owner
Adding a new owner requires a deed to the property. The current owner or owners must sign the deed to both themselves and the person who will be added to the title.
Example: Peter and Paul want to change Mary’s name on their property’s title. They will draft a deed from Peter and Paul to Peter, Paul, and Mary to accomplish this. It is crucial that all three be listed as the property’s new owners.
Avoid the common error of only transferring a portion of the property’s interest; instead, transfer the entire interest to ensure that all owners have a stake in the entire asset.
Example: Peter, Paul, and Mary will each have a third interest in the property if Peter and Paul deed the entire property to Peter, Paul, and Mary. This is usually what the parties intend. Mary will receive a full interest in one third of the property upon a deed of one third to her, while Peter and Paul will each receive an undivided one-half interest in the remaining two thirds of the property.
In most cases, transferring partial ownership obviates the purpose of the deed and unnecessarily complicates the title. It is typically best to transfer the entire interest in the property to all owners in order to avoid these problems.
Choosing the Form of Co-Ownership
The appropriate co-ownership structure must be chosen when adding a new owner. The deed should specify the co-ownership structure because it affects the property’s legal rights. Check out What Are the Forms of Co-Ownership? for more details on the possibilities.
You are guided through the process of selecting the type of co-ownership by our deed creation software. The computer software will automatically title the property as tenants in common if any of the new owners are trusts or businesses. The software will let you choose between tenants in common, joint tenants with right of survivorship, community property, or tenancy by the entirety if all of the new owners are private individuals.
Unities of Title and Strawman Conveyances
A joint tenancy requires four unities of title, as was mentioned in our discussion of the different types of co-ownership. This means that for a joint tenancy to exist, all of the following conditions must be met:
These conditions are met by a deed using the specific language necessary to establish a joint tenancy with right of survivorship that transfers property from the transferor to other owners. However, problems may occur if one or more existing owners wish to retain a stake in the property while also adding a new owner.
Example: Peter is the current owners of the property. Using a deed that establishes Peter and Paul as joint tenants with right of survivorship, he wants to add Paul to the property. Peter’s interest in the property starts before Paul’s because he already owns it before the deed is signed. This does not satisfy the condition that the joint tenants’ interests must all manifest themselves simultaneously.
The four unities of title are not technically present in this situation. In the past, real estate lawyers have complied with this requirement by using a strawman conveyance. In a strawman conveyance, the initial owner would transfer ownership of the property to a third party (the strawman), who would then transfer ownership of the property to the original owner as well as the new owner. Because of this, it was artificially created that the interest from the strawman was paid to both the existing owner and the new owner simultaneously.
Thankfully, most states now adopt a commonsense approach and do not demand strawman conveyances to establish a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, including California and Florida. Since the right of survivorship in Texas is established by separate agreement rather than unities of title, the issue is not present.
Can my girlfriend be on the deed and not the mortgage?
It is not necessary for both of the homeowners, who are typically spouses listed on the deed, to be listed on the mortgage. Remember that the mortgage does not reveal the identity of the home’s owner, so omitting your name from the mortgage will not affect your ownership of the property.
Can I add my son name to my mortgage?
A child acquires an ownership interest in your house when their name is added to a deed. As a result, you require your child’s consent before you can sell the house or refinance your mortgage. In theory, your child could even sell their portion of the property without your permission.
How do you add someone to a deed in Virginia?
How do I add or remove someone from my deed? A new deed must be prepared and recorded in the Clerk’s Office where the property is located to change the ownership of real estate.
What are the tax implications of adding someone to a deed in Florida?
For tax purposes, adding a family member as a joint owner on the deed without receiving anything in return is regarded as a gift of 50% of the property’s fair market value. The donor must submit a gift tax return (using Form 709) to report the transfer if the gift’s value exceeds the annual exclusion cap ($16,000 for 2022).