How to Change Your Name on a Deed

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Changing your name often reflects a big change in your life. Whether you’re celebrating a marriage, finalizing a divorce, dealing with the estate of a loved one, or embracing a fresh start, knowing how to change your name on a deed can help you move forward.

Perhaps this need has arisen as you’re preparing to sell your home, and a discrepancy in the deed’s name has come to light.

In this post, we’ll share the key steps you need to correctly change a name on a deed, ensuring your property records accurately reflect your current situation.

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What is a house deed?

A house deed is a legal document that proves ownership of a property. It contains important information, including the names of the current owner(s), the legal description of the property, and any conditions or rights that come with the ownership. When a property is sold or transferred, the deed is updated to reflect the new owner’s name and information.

Deed vs. title: While a deed is a physical legal document of ownership, a title is a concept that establishes the owner’s rights, including the right to sell a property. A buyer will “take title” of a home at the time of purchase, but will first need to “clear title,” which means to confirm ownership without any encumbrances (claims) on the property.

Reasons to change a name on a deed

There are several common reasons why you might need to update a name on your house deed:

  • Marriage or divorce: Legal changes in marital status often lead to a change in name, which must be updated on the deed.
  • Death of a property owner: When a property owner passes away, the deed may need to be updated to reflect the ownership status.
  • Inheritance: Acquiring property through inheritance typically requires updating the deed with the new owner’s name.
  • Correction of a misspelling: Simple errors in the spelling of a name can necessitate a correction on the deed.
  • Voluntary name change: Personal decisions to change one’s name for reasons other than marriage or divorce also require deed updates.

How to change your name on a deed

Changing your name on a house deed is a process that involves several steps, each important to ensure the legality and accuracy of your property’s records. Below is a guide to help you through this process:

1. Update federal and state identification

Before making changes to your deed, ensure your name change is official on your federal and state identifications. This includes updating your name on your Social Security card and driver’s license or state ID.

Start with SSA: It’s recommended you start with your Social Security card because many other legal processes rely on this record to verify your identity. To initiate this change, you will typically be requesting a “replacement” Social Security card. Visit this link on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website,, to get the ball rolling. You can also visit or contact your local SSA office.

2. Review your existing deed

To avoid surprises, it’s important to review the current deed to your property. Understand the way your name is listed and any other owners or liens mentioned. This review will help you identify exactly what changes need to be made. If you don’t have a copy, you can usually obtain one from your local county recorder’s office.

3. Ask your lender about process and policy

If your property is financed, inform your lender in advance about your name change. Lenders may have specific requirements or forms you need to complete. They will guide you on how your name change affects your mortgage and what documents are needed for their records.

4. File a grant or quitclaim deed

To officially change the name on your deed, you will usually need to file a new deed with your county recorder’s office. A grant deed or a quitclaim deed can be used for such changes as they allow you to transfer property interest to another party, which in this case, is essentially yourself but under a new name. Consult with your county recorder’s office or a legal professional to determine which is appropriate for your circumstances.

Quitclaim insight: You may have heard that quitclaim deeds cannot be used on a house with a mortgage. However, many counties will accept a quitclaim when you’re simply changing the existing name on a deed. Limitations on quitclaim deeds are related to transferring property with warranties and ownership protections, such as when you are selling a house.

5. Notify your lender and title insurance company

After filing the new deed, inform your lender and title insurance company of the change. Providing them with a copy of the updated deed ensures that all parties involved in the ownership and financing of the home are aware of your new legal name. Ask your lender if a name change notification is required for other mortgage-related services, such as a private mortgage insurance (PMI) carrier.

6. Update homeowners insurance

Contact your homeowners insurance provider to update your policy with your new name. This step ensures that your insurance records are consistent with your property deed and other legal documents.

7. Update tax assessor records

Finally, notify your local tax assessor’s office of your name change. This update will ensure that property tax bills and other official communications are correctly addressed to you under your new name.

FAQ on how to change a name on a deed

Do I need an attorney for a name change?

While not always required, consulting with a real estate attorney can provide valuable guidance throughout the name change process on a deed, especially if your situation is complex. An attorney can help ensure all legal requirements are met and documents are filed correctly, minimizing potential issues.

How much does a deed name change cost?

The cost to change a name on a deed can vary widely depending on your location and the complexity of the change. Filing fees for a new deed at the county recorder’s office typically range from $50 to $200. If you hire an attorney or a title company to assist with the process, their fees would be additional.

How long does a name change take?

The time frame for completing a name change on a deed can vary by state and county. Once you have all the necessary documents, filing with the county recorder’s office can be relatively quick, often within a few weeks to a few months. However, the total time will also include gathering documents, possible lender communications, and waiting periods for updated IDs.

Will my name change affect my credit report?

A name change itself does not directly affect your credit score. When you change your name with the Social Security Administration, your state’s DMV, and your creditors, your new name will typically be automatically added to your existing credit bureau reports. This is another reason why it’s important that you promptly notify your financial institutions and creditors about your name change.

What can go wrong with a name change?

Common issues with deed name changes include misspelled names on the new deed, failing to notify your lender or title insurance company, or not updating related legal documents. Each of these errors can create complications in property ownership records or future transactions. There can also be hiccups caused by government red tape.

Selling your home? The right name and the right agent

Ensuring your deed reflects your current legal name is a vital step if you are making plans to sell your home. Once your deed is updated, finding the right real estate agent is your next essential move.

HomeLight can connect you with top-performing agents in your area. Whether you’re looking for expertise in fast sales, top dollar negotiations, or unique property challenges, our free Agent Match platform uses data-driven insights and thousands of reviews to pair you with local agents proven to deliver results.

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