When might this be necessary?
Homeowners who decide to add the name of their spouse to their property deed when they get married may want to remove their name if they get divorced or separate, subject to the terms of any divorce settlement or separation agreement. In the case of non-married couples and other cohabitees who buy a house together in joint names, one party may want to stay in the property and buy the other person out. In any of these cases, it will be necessary to remove one of the names from the title deeds.
The other common scenario in which someone's name needs to be removed from a property deed is upon their death, in order to complete the probate procedure and finalise any resulting inheritance. The name of the deceased will be removed from the title deeds and replaced with the relevant beneficiaries or, in the case of a sale of the estate, with the new owner.
What is the process for removing someone from a property deed?
England and Wales
To remove someone's name from a property deed, the following steps must be taken:
an application must be made to change the register using Form AP1
if a conveyancer is not handling the transfer, Form ID1 should also be filed along with the application
In the case of two joint owners where one dies, the surviving joint owner will become the sole legal owner of the property. But in order to remove the name of the deceased joint proprietor, application Form DJP must be filed.
If there are no surviving joint owners, the regular probate process will cover the transfer of property. Probate involves applying for a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration. For more information, read Probate.
The beneficiaries can have the property transferred into their names, via the personal representatives, using Forms AP1 (to change the register) and AS1 (which transfers the property to the beneficiaries).
Removing someone's name from a title deed is a complex process. A solicitor will need to be involved when changing the title deed and record all relevant information in the relevant Register. Ask a lawyer if you need advice on how to remove someone’s name from the title deed.
What if the property is mortgaged?
If a property in England, Wales or Scotland, comes with a mortgage, it will normally be necessary to gain permission from the mortgage lender to remove the name of one of the owners. This is because the mortgage will essentially be transferred to the remaining owner(s). The mortgage company will need to assess the financial ability of the remaining owner(s) (eg to make mortgage repayments).