How to Change a Deed When You Inherit Property

Inheriting property is typically considered a boon. Still, as with any type of inheritance, the legal ins-and-outs can put a damper on your enthusiasm. If ever there was an area in which states' rights dominated, it is in changing a deed upon inheritance. Most states require you to create a new deed and file it with the appropriate county office.

Step 1

Get a copy of the probated will. Many states require documentation that the will has been probated by the court.

Step 2

Obtain a certified copy of the death certificate. It is a requirement in several states, including North Carolina and Alabama.

Step 3

Draft a new deed that names you as the property owner. The new deed should include your name and address, the name and address of the decedent, the address or location of the property, the parcel number, if any, and a description of the property. If you co-inherit the property, the names of the co-owners should also be included on the new deed. County recorder's offices in some states claim you can write the new deed without the aid of an attorney. In Illinois, on the other hand, county deed offices recommend you work with a lawyer.

Step 4

Sign the new deed and have it notarized. You can find a notary public at a financial institution or even a private mailbox facility.

Step 5

Mail or hand-deliver the new deed, along with death certificate and probated will, if required, to the recorder of the county in which the property is located. Enclose any required filing fee.

Tip

  • In Texas, once the original owner dies, the mere existence of a will naming you as inheritor of the property is enough to establish ownership. No new deed is required. Massachusetts similarly requires no deed. An estate docket number from the probate court is enough to prove that title to the property has been transferred.
  • In states such as California, the process of changing a deed varies according to whether the value of the property is greater or less than $150,000.
  • If an executor has been appointed to administer the estate of the deceased, it may be up to him to change the deed. In such a case, most states require the signature of the executor on the new deed.

References (7)

About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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