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How to change the legal name on a property title deed

Properties change ownership on a regular basis. However, the process of changing the name on a title isn't as simple as many would desire. This is because thorough records are necessary to ensure that any potential disputes can be settled fairly.

So, what happens when you need to change the name on a property? There are many cases where this need arises, such as during a divorce, when buying out a partner on the title deed, or when transferring ownership to children/beneficiaries.

Start with a formal equity transfer

The way a legal name change works on your title deed is via an equity transfer. This means that the portion of the equity that a former owner had will be transferred to the new owner. An equity transfer ensures that the person(s) named on the title deed are the true owners of the property.

Processing an equity transfer will necessitate having the correct paperwork. For example, if a property was passed to you from your parents, there should be either a will or other type of documentation that affirms they passed ownership to you. Complications typically arise in the case of separated couples. For example, if partners separate and one of them remains in the home, they may assume full payment of an active mortgage.

Failing to transfer equity under the paying person's name may result in the other person having a take on the property even when they didn't actually make the payments.

Consult a conveyancer to process all appropriate paperwork

Conveyancing solicitors can help you handle all the paperwork that surrounds a property transfer. For example, they will outline all requirements necessary to transfer equity when you're looking to change the names on a title deed.

A transfer of equity begins with both partners expressing their interest to engage in the transaction. The solicitor will then proceed to verify all property documents with appropriate authorities (such as the local Lands Registry), after which an agreement form is signed between the former and new owner.

The process may take longer if the property is still under the mortgage or there are outstanding debts for which the land is being used as security.  

Add the relevant names

After all the paperwork has been verified, the desired person's name can be added to the title. You may be looking to join someone who's name is already listed (such as a spouse or a parent), or the transfer may involve removing someone's name and adding yours. Either way, this is the most critical step as it completes the official transfer of equity to those listed on the title.

For more information on changing names on a property title deed, reach out to solicitors in your area.