How To Transfer A Property Deed From A Deceased Relative

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

Death of a relative is a difficult situation that every individual faces from time to time in their lives. Difficulties can become complex when dealing with property and property deeds.

The process of transferring a property deed from a deceased relative to the new owner is dependent on a number of key factors. How do you begin?

This helpful guide explores all the must-know information on how to transfer a property deed from a deceased family member. We share all the vital facts on transferring real estate.

This guide explains all the need-to-know meanings of legal jargon in property and real estate law. We look at revocable transfers, different deeds such as a TODD (time of death deed), and affidavit considerations.

Read on to a get a better understanding on this legal process and any relevant factors. Discover how to remove a deceased owner from a title deed, recording quit claims, updating property records, and applicable fees.

Learn what it means for ownership, if there is no will or trust in place. Don’t forget to scroll down to the conclusion for additional information, 

How Do You Transfer A Property From A Deceased Relative?

How To Transfer A Property Deed From A Deceased Relative

The legal process of transferring real estate from a deceased family member should be as simple as possible.

Alas, this is sometimes not the case. In order to fully understanding the legalities, we must first look at the following points.

What Is A Deed And A Property Deed?

Let’s get down to basics. Firstly, a deed is a legal document to show ownership of assets or property. A deed will transfer the ownership of said property from one party to another.

A property deed is the same thing, but is concerned with the transfer of property or land. It is a physical legal document that shows ownership of the property in question.

Different Deeds

Deeds come in several varieties, depending on the circumstances involved. For the purpose of this article, we are going to be looking at TODD (Time of Death Deeds).

What Is A Title? Is A Title And A Property Deed The Same?

Although a title and a deed go together, they are not the same thing. A property deed is a physical legal document to show ownership.  A title is a concept.

Once a deed transfers, the title represents the new ownership. A deed and its title belong to the new owner, who is then free to sell it, if they so wish.

Details On Transferring A Property Deed From A Deceased Relative

Transferring a property deed following the owner’s death may be a tad tricky. For instance, much depends on how many surviving family members inherit the property.

The new owners may request an appraisal (or valuation) of the property. Then there is the matter of probate.

What Is A Probate, And Why Do You Need It?

A probate is the term given for the legal proceedings and process of distributing a deceased person’s (known as the decedent), assets or property, as set out in their will. The will’s named executor handles this.

How To Transfer A Property Deed From A Deceased Relative

A probate happens in court.

It also deals  with will validation and ensuring any of the property’s associated debts get paid. Sometimes probate can take a long time, meaning a frustrating wait for the named beneficiaries. 

A probate can be informal or formal. Informal probates generally occur when an argument or protest to the will is unlikely.

A formal probate happens in the case of great equity involvement. Probate law differs according to the U. S state.

You may be able to avoid the drawn out and expensive legal process if there is a living trust. Also, if a property was co-owned, the surviving co-owner does not need to go through probate to transfer the property deeds.

Finally, you don’t need probate if the deceased had signed and filed a TODD (Transfer on Death Deed). That said, a will is subject to going through this court-supervised proceeding.

Additionally, if the deceased owner has unpaid debts, probate enables the executor to sell it and recover this debt before the new owner can inherit it (or money from its sale).

What Is A Revocable Transfer On Death Deed?

A revocable TODD is a legal document which allows an individual to pass on their estate without going through probate or with a trust.administration. Having this prevents the need to go through probate.

Is A Revocable Trust, TODD, Or Probate Always Necessary?

Should both parents pass away, a revocable trust, TODD, or probate is not always necessary.

This loophole can only be actioned if the title states, ‘joint with rights of survivorship.’ In such cases, the death certificate and title must be taken to the County assessor’s offices.

There, you file a notarized Affidavit of Death form and a preliminary Change of Ownership Report form.

The change/update gets recorded, with payment of administration fees, and the new title deed arrives in the post.

The type of original house ownership should also be factored in. These include:

1. Sole ownership –

2. Joint tenants

3. Tenants by entirety

4. Community property with Right of Survivorship

5. Tenancy in Common

Steps For Transferring A Property Following The Death Of Parents/Relative.

1. Property held in a trust : If the deceased property owner held a trust, the newest deed should state the property was transferred to the trustee.

2. TODD : If the late owner filed a TODD, it will clearly state the new owner. Sometimes a small amount of paperwork is required.

The new heir may have to sign an Affidavit and present the death certificate at the relevant county office.

3. Surviving co-owner:  In this situation they should file a statement stating sole ownership and present it along with the death certificate to the County  Land Record’s office.


Transferring a property deed after the death of a relative can become quite a complex procedure. Mostly, it requires probate This is also true in cases where there is no will or trust (dying intestate).