A Deed is the legal document that transfers a person’s interest in real estate. It can be transferred to another person or to an entity, such as a Living Trust or a Corporation. It can seem like a small thing, but ask anyone who’s trying to transact business without having title to a property, and they’ll tell you how important a Deed becomes. Without owning the title to a Deed, it is impossible to buy or sell the home that’s associated with that Deed. It’s also impossible to move that home into a Living Trust.

Transferring title, or ownership, on a Deed is a relatively simple process that has important legal protections. Best of all, it’s something DP Legal Solutions can generally accomplish fairly quickly.

Below are some common situations that require Deed transfers

We’re hoping that these may serve as reminders of the need to transfer title on your Deed.

1. Adding a spouse

This is perhaps the most common reason our clients come into our offices to transfer Deeds. These days, when 50% of divorces end in Divorce and the majority of those divorced people remarry, there’s a good chance that at least one spouse is bringing real property into the marriage. Adding the new spouse to the Deed’s title will ensure that he or she has equal claim to the home in the event something happens to the other spouse.

2. Removing a spouse

Just as it’s important to add a spouse to a Deed’s title with marriage, it’s important to remove an ex-spouse from the home’s title when divorcing. We recently worked with a client who came in to update his Trust, which he’d created seven years before. In the intervening years, he’d divorced and remarried, and some excellent investments had flourished. He was shocked to realize that if something happened to him, all of his now-considerable assets would go to his ex-wife—including his home, whose title was still held by both him and his ex-wife.

3. Creating a Living Trust

A Trust is meaningless unless it’s funded with your assets, which includes real property. To move a home or other real property into your Trust, you must hold title to that property and move it into your Trust with a Grant Deed.

4. Refinancing

Many people over the last few years have taken advantage of low interest rates and refinanced their home mortgages and other real property. If they’ve moved their property into their Trusts, they must move it out again in order to execute the refi. A word of caution: It’s not unusual in the sometimes-confusing refi process to neglect moving the updated Deed back into the Trust. If something happened to you and your Deed(s) didn’t get moved back into the Trust, it would mean that your estate would need to go through Probate.

5. Revocable Transfer on Death Deed (TOD Deed)

Effective January 1, 2016, Jerry Brown signed into California law a new way for real property to be transferred upon a person’s death to avoid probate. The TOD Deed allows a person to leave real property to a designated person or persons, such as a family member, friend, lifelong partner or other loved one, without having to set up a Living Trust. While this is a streamlined process for the succession of real property, it does not replace our comprehensive Living Trust package, which includes a Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive.

Do you need to transfer title to a Deed for your home or other property? Schedule an appointment with DP Legal Solutions today: 510.346.5686.