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Can you take someones name off a home deed if they were never a "borrower" or "co-borrower on the home"?

Richmond, TX |

I purchased a home with my older brother. He had terrible credit, and could not be listed as a financial borrower on the mortgage. Therefore, I was the only one listed as the borrower. His name as well as mine were both put on the deed of the home, but he has since walked away from the property, as well as stop making payments of his share a few years ago. In an email he agreed to give me the property entirely. I am married now, and would like to put my wife on the deed, and remove his name. What would be the most efficient way of making this change? Do I need his signature?

By the way, I was originally told by my brother that he was also on the mortgage and the deed when we first made the purchase. From what he is now saying is he was only listed on the deed, but was never on the mortgage. I have no idea how you can be listed on a deed without being listed on a mortgage. Also, he only lived in the home for 9 months and went to purchase his own home, and I have been in the home since we first bought the home, have never moved.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Short answer is that you are going to need the help of an experienced real estate lawyer. Deeds are not like car titles. You can't take peoples names off and put peoples names on. Deeds are more like an entry in a family tree. You can get a copy of the deed and the mortgage by going down to the county clerk's offices and researching the real property records. That would tell you what they actually say without having to rely on your brother for information. You do not need a lawyer to get copies. Tell the clerk you just want regular copies not certified. It will be a little cheaper. Your brother would convey his interest in the house to you by signing a General Warranty Deed to you. You need a lawyer to prepare it. The consideration for the deed should be "a gift". Before you convey any interest in the house to your spouse you need to consult with an attorney. If you purchased the house prior to your marriage then that portion is your separate property. If your brother gifts his portion to you during your marriage then that portion is your separate property. It makes a significant difference if you own the house as separate property instead of community property. A divorce court does not have the power in Texas to take one spouse's separate real estate away and award it to the other spouse. However, if you want the house to be treated as community property there is a way to accomplish that but you will need an experienced attorney to do it. One thing you will want to be very careful about is avoiding an accidental default on the mortgage. Most mortgages describe the act of conveying an interest in the real estate without paying off the mortgage or getting the consent of the lender as a default. Again, get the advice of an experienced real estate lawyer. I think you can get where you want to get, just not on your own.

    DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

  2. If your brother will sign a deed quitclaiming his interest to you, then simply have a local attorney prepare the deed and file it.
    Note that if your brother has credit issues, you might want to run a title search on him to determine if there are any judgments or other liens in his name.
    If your brother will no sign voluntarily sign a deed, then you would have to file an action for partition in which you would have to buy out his interest.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

  3. Although your brother did not sign the promissory note, he remains in title unless and until he deeds the property back to you by virtue of a gift deed or a warranty deed.

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