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Take My Name Off The Deed, Please

James W. Martin

So, how do you take your name off the deed? How do you take anyone’s name off the deed? It depends on where the real estate is located. In Florida, and in most states, you cannot literally take a name off the deed.

Here’s the reason. Many people think houses are like cars. Cars have title certificates, so houses must, too. But they don’t. At least not in Florida.

Vehicle title registration systems are mostly a 20th century thing. Cars are, too. Land ownership, on the other hand, is ancient. Florida land ownership laws are based on the common law of England so there are no title certificates. Instead, who owns land and houses on land is determined by searching the public records where deeds are recorded. The last deed recorded usually says who the current owner is.

Of course, that’s why you need title searches and title insurance: to cover those times when the last deed does not name the current owner.

So, how do you get someone’s name off the title to real estate in Florida? It depends. Sometimes it takes recording another deed. Sometimes it takes recording a death certificate. It all depends on the facts and the state of the title. Which is what lawyers and title companies help you do.

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