Upton, MA asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts

Q: If a quitclaim to add spouse to the title of the house is not registered, do I still need his signature to sell?

I am married, but the house and mortgage are in my name only. If I add my spouse to the title through a quitclaim deed but don't register it, would the spouse be a legal co-owner of the house? If I die, how would the unregistered quitclaim affect the spouse's ownership of the property?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
  • Boston, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: If you convey property to another, whether you record the deed or not, the grantee owns the property and in order to convey to a third party, both of you must sign the deed. How the property is disposed on your death depends on how you and the grantee take title. If you convey to the grantee as tenants in common, your interest in the property passes through your estate to your heirs or via your will or other testamentary instrument. If you convey to the grantee as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, the entire property is automatically conveyed to the surviving owner by operation of law. Why don't you want to record the deed?

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