2 options to add a name to deed

Mailbag

January 26, 2003

Dear Mr. Azrael:

In 1989, my husband died, but I never removed his name from the deed of our home. I now would like to add my daughter's name to the deed.

There is no money involved, and she is my only living blood relative.

Bernice LaRosa Dundalk

Dear Mrs. LaRosa:

You can add your daughter's name to the deed by signing and recording a new deed in the Baltimore County land records.

There are two basic options for including your daughter's name on the title:

Life-estate deed - A life-estate deed says that you are the owner of the property during your lifetime, and that your daughter becomes the owner of the property on your death. A properly drawn life-estate deed can reserve your full power to sell, mortgage, lease or convey the property during your lifetime without your daughter's consent. This type of deed is called a life estate "with full powers."

Joint tenants - A joint tenancy deed says that you and your daughter own the property together, and that neither of you can sell, mortgage, convey or lease the property without the consent of the other. On the death of you or your daughter, the entire property is owned by the survivor.

I do not recommend adding your daughter's name to the deed if she is younger than 18. As a minor, she would not have legal capacity to sell or mortgage the property without court approval.

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