Can You Remove Someone from a Deed Without Their Knowledge?

Can You Remove Someone from a Deed Without Their Knowledge?

A property deed is a legal document used to transfer ownership from the home seller to the home buyer. The deed is the document that defines who owns a property. For every transaction involving property, the deed accompanies the purchase, transferring from the grantor selling the home to the grantee who buys it. 

In order for a deed to be valid, it must be notarized and filed on public record. Deeds list the name of the current owner and can be a single owner or multiple owners. Once your name is on the deed, generally speaking, your name cannot be removed without your knowledge or permission.  

How a Name is Removed from a Deed

Legally, a person’s name can only be removed from a deed when the ownership exchanges hands either via a sale or property transfer. To remove a name from the deed, your consent and signature are required. The only way your name can be removed from a deed without your consent is when there is legal action with a court order. This would include:

  • A partition action: It is possible that your co-owner might want to sell the property, but you don’t – or vice versa. This is often the case where children inherit the family home. Some might want to sell while others might want to hold onto the property. This is where a partition action is required. In this case, the court orders the parties to sell to a third party.
  • Foreclosure: If you default on the mortgage, your interest in the property may be transferred to a new party – namely the mortgage lender.

These are legal ways a name may be removed from a deed.

What Happens When Two Or More People Are on the Deed?

In Illinois residential real estate, you should specify the type of tenancy when there are two or more names on the deed. If this is not specified, the default is what is known as “tenants in common.” This means that each person owns the property with an undivided fractional interest so each owner has their own separate interest. As a result, upon the death of one of the owners, their interest does not go to the others named on the deed, and instead becomes part of the person’s estate and transfers to their heirs.

It is typically in your best interest to choose what is called a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship deed. This ensures your co-owner’s share goes to you and the others on the deed and vice versa. When it comes to the deed, a co-owner cannot remove your name. A title search should be reviewed prior to any deed transfer to certify who the owners are on record, and avoid a gap in title..

Deed Transfer and Tenancy In Common

When you own a property as tenants in common with another person, you each own a 50% interest or any percentage you specify on the deed (provided it adds up to 100%!). If your co-owner chooses, he or she can transfer their share of the property to someone else but cannot transfer your share without your permission. .

Illegal Removal from a Deed

While there are no legal means for someone to remove your name from a deed without your knowledge or permission, there are ways someone might unlawfully transfer your interest. When this happens your best course of action is quieting your title to confirm you own the property. Speak with a real estate attorney to petition the court to declare the claims of the other “owner” are invalid.

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