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Removing Name From Home's Deed

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM #LAW 746

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A ThinkGlink reader is in the process of getting a divorce but is considering removing her husband's name from the home's deed before the divorce is final. Ilyce and Sam help this reader think through all of her options.

Q: I am divorcing my husband due to abandonment. He also has legal issues and substance abuse.
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We purchased a home five years ago. To avoid any financial ramifications from his actions, can I use my power of attorney to remove his name from the deed to protect the home? I had to post notification of the divorce in the newspaper because I have no knowledge of where he is.

A: If you have a valid power of attorney that gives you the right to conduct all of your husband’s financial affairs, including real estate matters, you may have the power to convey title of the property to you, but that may not be the best thing for you to do.

While title in the property may become yours by your actions, your husband may continue to have an interest in the proceeds of the home or even an interest in the home by virtue of the divorce.

You should consult an attorney in your divorce proceedings to determine what course of action you should take. Since you can’t find your husband, your better course of action may be have the divorce court grant you a judgment for your husband’s interest in the home.

As an extreme example, if your husband is no longer living, the power of attorney he granted you may not be valid. If you were to convey title to yourself and then get divorced, you might later find out that part of the title to the home may still be in your ex-husband’s name, or may belong to another member of his family.

That’s why it’s important for you to work with your divorce attorney to get all of your assets in order and make sure that they are properly titled in your name alone.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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