3 Steps to Add a Name to a Florida Deed
Helping clients with real estate matters since 1994
Changing The Ownership of Florida Real Estate
If you want to change a deed or add someone to a deed (a new spouse, child, other family members, or significant other), that can normally be accomplished in 3 easy steps. (Please note, once you add someone to a Deed, you can’t remove them from the title – unless, they agree to deed the property back to you or you force the sale of the property via a partition lawsuit.)
The three steps to adding a name to a Florida deed are as follows:
1. Provide your attorney with a prior deed or legal description for the property. If you are unable to locate either, your attorney can obtain those items free of charge.
2. Once your lawyer prepares the new deed, the grantor (the current owner or the party transferring an interest in the property) simply signs the new Deed in the presence of two witnesses and has their signature notarized.
3. The Deed is then recording in the public records for the county in which the property is located along with paying the appropriate recording and transfer taxes (documentary stamps). The amount of transfer taxes due will vary depending on several factors, including, but not limited to, the intent of the transfer, whether or not there is a mortgage on the property, and if the grantee (the party being added to the deed) is paying the grantor for an ownership interest in the property.
One frequently asked question about changing a deed is whether or not the person who is being added to deed has to sign. That answer is no. Only the granting party is required to sign the deed. Also, these steps apply whether or not the deed is a quitclaim deed or a warranty deed.
This is only a general description of what is required to change or add a name to a deed. We recommend you consult with an experienced real estate lawyer for professional advice as each circumstance is unique.
(Please note, the fee for our office to add someone to your deed is $650.00, plus recording costs and documentary stamps – recordings costs are normally less than $50.00.)
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To learn more from Larry Tolchinsky and to see all of the real estate matters he can help with, read his Real Estate Lawyer page.
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1. Is a transfer of property effective between a grantor and grantee if the deed is not recorded?
The transfer is effective between the parties to the transaction upon delivery of the deed but has no effect against third parties until the transaction is recorded in the public records of the county where the property is located.
2. What is a “Lady Bird” deed?
A Lady Bird deed is where a grantor transfers an enhanced life estate to him or herself with the remainder to pass to joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The life estate is “enhanced” in the sense that the grantor/life tenant of a Lady Bird deed retains the right to mortgage, encumber or otherwise deal with the real property during his or her lifetime.
3. Is an intention to deliver a deed without actual physical delivery to a grantee sufficient to convey title to the grantee?
Yes, the intention of the grantor is the key in determining whether there has been delivery.
4. Is it necessary for the legal description written on a deed to be precise in order for the deed to be valid?
Absolute precision is not required. A deed must adequately describe the property to be transferred so that the boundaries and description of the land can be ascertained. Whether a legal description is sufficient is a case-by-case analysis, dependent upon the actual description used and the circumstances surrounding the real property.
5. Who can witness a deed?
Any person 18 years of age or older may witness a deed. However, persons who have been declared mentally incapacitated or those physically incapable of witnessing, should NOT be used as witnesses to the deed. Also, a person related to a grantor or grantee who has no interest in the transaction may serve as a witness. Finally, a notary who is notarizing a deed may also sign as one of the two witnesses but the notary’s signature on the deed just in his/her capacity as a notary will not suffice as a witness; the notary must also sign as a witness.
6. What does it mean if I have a remainder interest as a tenant in common on a life estate deed?
Upon a life tenant’s death, the remainderman, assuming there are 2, will each own a ½ interest in the property with no right of survivorship. That means if one of the remaindermen were to die the survivor of the remainderman does NOT automatically acquire the predeceased remainderman’s interest in the property. Instead, the deceased remainderman’s interest passes to his or her children, if any.
7. What does it mean if I have a remainder interest as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship on a life estate deed?
Upon a life tenant’s death, the remainderman, assuming there are 2, will each own a ½ interest in the property with a right of survivorship. That means if one of the remaindermen dies the survivor of the remainderman automatically acquires the predeceased remainderman’s interest in the property. The surviving remainderman would own 100% of the property.