How do I get the deed to my brother's property in my name without an attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I purchased property with my brother, he died and had no beneficiary, how do I get the deed in my name only without spending money on attorney fees


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

If you and your brother were joint owners on the title to the property, then it should be fairly easy to get it into your name alone"”without going through the time and expense of hiring a lawyer.

The laws and rules controlling real estate are set by the state in which it is located, so you may need to do a bit of digging to find out the exact requirements where you live. The general idea is the same everywhere, however: You need to file a document in the local public land records office showing that one of the property owners has died and that you are left as the sole surviving owner.

In some states, you need only file a certified copy of the deceased owner's death certificate. Others follow a slightly more detailed approach"”requiring the survivor both to produce a death certificate and to complete an Affidavit of Survivorship or Affidavit of the Death of a Joint Tenant, or something with a similar name.

To complete such affidavits, you may need: --a legal description of the property, which should appear on the deed --a description of how the title to the property was held --recording information for the joint ownership"”which again, should be on the deed, and --the names of the deceased and surviving owners.

To find out the exact procedure you need to follow, contact an officer at the local title company or the county land records office. If you need to fill out a survivorship affidavit and want some help with that, you should be able to see copies of completed documents that were recently filed and are part of the public records.