Q: My husband and I are joint owners of our home. He passed away, and I would like to transfer the deed into my name.
What documents do I need, and where do I go to get the transfer done?
A: In other words, your husband was a joint owner. With his death, he ceased to be a joint owner, and you became the sole owner. The land records won't reflect that fact until his death certificate is recorded.
If the deed naming you as a joint owner is already recorded, there is no document to be executed or recorded at this time simply to make you the sole owner. You already are. When you convey or mortgage the property, you will need to record with the register of deeds a certified copy of the death certificate to show that you have the authority to do so as the sole owner.
A: Responding from a New York perspective, if you and your husband held title as tenants by the entirety, you would not need to do anything except produce a death certificate if and when you sell the real estate.
A: A copy of the recorded deed should be sufficient if it states that you and your former husband owned the property as "husband and wife" or "jointly with rights of survivorship." If this 'magic language' is not contained in the deed, then you will need to consult with an attorney to probate the property. On a related topic, deeds are legal contracts that have far- reaching legal and tax consequences and they should be drafted by legal professionals.
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