my home is free and clear, my wife died and her name along with my name is on the title===how do i remove her name==
Real Estate Attorney
Please first identify how you and your wife owned it: joint tenancy, tenants in common, tenants by the entirety, in trust, otherwise? Thanks.
Real Estate Attorney
From a purely legal standpoint, if title was in both of your names at the time of her passing, you do not actually remove it. Instead, you record a certified copy of her death certificate (that does not show cause of death) in the public records and that is all that is legally required to have title in your name. If you want her name off of the deed entirely, you could sign a deed from yourself to yourself. However doing so may have some unintended consequences that are costly to clear up (the property appraiser may view it as a transfer and increase your assessed value to current market value for example.
The foregoing was offered solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice as the facts presented are limited and unstated facts will likely impact your particular situation. Nor does it create an attorney client relationship. If you found the response helpful, please check the thumbs-up box below.
If you and your spouse were in fact married at the time you purchased the home, you took title as "tenants by the entireties" unless the deed specificall provided for some other type of ownership. As the surviving owner, you now own 100% assuming that you remained married continuously, and without interruption, until the date your spouse passed away.
This is proven through an affidavit an attorney can prepare for you to confirm the necessary facts. If you were not married continously, even if you divorced and then remarried, then you only own 1/2 and the ownership of the other half is determined by your spouse's will and/or Florida law. This is not do it yourself work because you need an attorney to review all of the facts and make sure there are no problems that could become very expensive to fix later.
In addition, a real estate attorney will be concerned about proof that no estate taxes are due. This is a complicated topic if your spouse passed away in 2010. An attorney can determine whether another affidavit will be needed to prove no estate taxes are due.
The death certificate does establish that you are the surviving owner, and will usually alert the property appraiser to change the names on the property tax bill. You should check with the property appraiser to make sure you are eligible to continue all available homestead-related property tax exemptions.
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.
Real Estate Attorney
Mr. Messutta is correct indicating that the answer depends on how you held title prior to your wife's passing. Merely recording a certified copy of the death certificate will not necessarily result in you owning fee title to the property depending on how you owned the property with your wife.
Perhaps more importantly, you always reserve the right to simply sue for the amount of the indebtedness (promissory note) unless the terms of your note somehow limit your remedies. In all likelihood your remedies should not be limited merely to foreclosure. However, your state may limit your remedies to either foreclosure or suit on the debt directly. Michigan makes these remedies mutually exclusive except with respect to a guarantor.
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*This response does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek personal legal counsel prior to taking any action. Nothing in this response should be construed to constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.*