Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California


My mother owns her own home, but she had my sister's name added to her deed a few years back, following the death of my father. My mother wants to have my sister's name removed, but she has no idea of how to go about making that change. If there is a form, or if you can direct me to the proper channels, I would much appreciate your help, as would my mother. Thank you for any help that you can afford me. It will be greatly appreciated.


--name removed--Andrade

Asked on 3/26/06, 8:00 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: deed

Without looking at the deed and how your mother and your sister hold title, it appears that your sister could quitclaim all of her interest in the property to your mother with a quitclaim deed. Transfer of title in a home is not something to be taken lightly, however, and it might be worth her while to consult with a lawyer to get it right.

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Answered on 3/26/06, 8:03 pm

Re: deed

You left out the most imporant fact: Does your sister want to be removed?

If so, it's easy. Either (1) use a Quitclaim Deed; and she will quitclaim any and all of her interest to your mother; or (2) use a Grant Deed, whereby both your mother and your sister will grant to solely your mother, the property. These can be technical transactions, and you should consult a real property transactional attorney for assistance. It's generally worth the expenditure to make sure it's done correctly.

On the other hand, if your sister does NOT want to cooperate and/or will not willingly surrender title, then your mother has a problem. This is why it is generally a very bad idea to put someone else on title. Once on, they cannot easily be removed absent that person's consent.

In this case, your mother would either (1) pay your sistem to sign a quitclaim deed, or (2) sue her to force her off. Problem is that such a suit could result in a forced sale of the property, with the proceeds being split between mother and daughter (depending upon how much of an interest your sister holds).

If your sister will not cooperate, then your mother is in a tough situation, from which there is no easy way out. She should immediately consult an attorney familiar with real property litigation.

Good luck.

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Answered on 3/26/06, 8:06 pm
Judith Deming Deming & Associates

Re: deed

You don't mention whether or not your mother's sister will cooperate or not. Assuming your mother placed her sister on title, the only way to get her off title, is for her (the sister) to deed it back to your mother. If the sister will not vountarily do that, your mother will have to file suit to cancel the previous deed and/or to quiet title against the sister's claims. Your mother will need to take the deed placing the sister on title to an attorney for more specific advice.

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Answered on 3/26/06, 8:39 pm

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