How to remove someone’s name from a property title
After a divorce, split or change of circumstances, you may need to remove someone’s name from a property title. Here’s what you need to do.
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A property title is an important legal document that lists the registered owners of a property and guarantees security of property ownership. While there are plenty of reasons why you might need to add someone to a property title, there are also situations where you need to remove someone’s name from a property title. For example, maybe a parent has passed away and you need to transfer ownership of her property, or if a relationship has broken down, it might be time to remove a former spouse’s name legally from the document.
The exact process you need to follow to remove a name from a title differs slightly in each Australian state and territory. Check out the links below for the government body that handles property title transfers in each state or territory. It's a good idea to contact the relevant department for detailed instructions on the process where you live for specific instructions on how to change your property title.
Although the process of removing someone’s name from a property title is quite similar throughout Australia, specific examples given in this guide have been taken from NSW.
You can remove someone’s name from a property title yourself, but this can be a complicated process that involves complex technical jargon. Many people prefer to engage the services of a property lawyer or a licensed conveyancer to carry out the work on their behalf. These professionals have the expertise to deal with any problems that may arise while transferring property and can help ensure that the transaction is handled with a minimum of fuss. This will come with a fee, of course, so be sure to ask for an estimate or quote upfront.
How to remove someone’s name from a property title (general)
Follow these steps to remove someone’s name from a property title:
- Hire a licensed conveyancer (optional). If you find the prospect of handling the paperwork daunting, hire a property lawyer or licensed conveyancer to take care of the task for you. Make sure you compare a few quotes and each expert’s level of experience before deciding on the right one to handle your transaction. The remaining steps can be completed by your conveyancer or by you.
- Fill out a transfer of title form. This form is usually available online via the website of the relevant state or territory government department. You need to provide the Torrens Title details of the property being transferred, the names of the people involved in the transfer and the share of property being transferred. You can find detailed instructions for filling out the NSW transfer of title form, Transfer Form 01T in our guide.
- Submit the transfer of title form. You’ll need to submit the completed and signed form to the lands department or state revenue office in your state or territory. You may also be required to submit supporting evidence, for example a death certificate.
- Pay the fee. Pay the necessary fee to have the transfer of title form processed. Fees vary between states and territories so contact the relevant government department for more information.
- Wait for the form to be processed. The relevant government department will then process the form and remove the name from the property title. Processing times vary from one state or territory to the next.
Please note that there may be extra steps to follow in different circumstances. For example, if there is an outstanding mortgage on the property, you’ll need to first obtain consent from your home loan lender before you can remove someone’s name from the property title.
Another example is if you are gifting a property to one of your children. You will want to have your name removed from the title and the child’s name added. Capital gains tax (CGT) is payable in this situation and is based on the property’s market value.
Removing a name from a property title can have many far-reaching legal, financial and taxation consequences, so seek professional advice tailored to your situation.
How to remove someone’s name from a property title after divorce
Around one in three of all Australian marriages end in divorce, so learning how to get a partner’s name removed from a property title is a common problem. If your marriage is headed for divorce and you need to get your ex-partner’s name removed from a property title, the steps detailed above will still need to be followed.
However, there are a few extra issues that need to be considered. Your solicitor will be able to help you and your partner draw up a formal separation agreement as part of the divorce settlement. This agreement sets out how you will divide the assets between the two of you, including who will assume ownership of the family home, and sets out the requirements of each spouse in writing. This can also help ensure that you avoid paying stamp duty on the property transfer (see stamp duty section below for more details) and will outline what happens to an existing mortgage as part of the marriage split.
Finally, you may also undergo a name change as part of the divorce, and you’ll need to remember to have your own name changed on the property title to reflect this.
What to do with your house following a divorce
While severing all financial and legal ties to your ex in a divorce may seem like the best approach, make sure to consider all your options before choosing to do this. There are a number of different options you could consider:
- Keep both names on the title. This may help simplify matters and will allow you to keep your existing mortgage in place. Your solicitor will help you draw up the necessary legal paperwork to set out the rules of this arrangement.
- Keep the home for the kids’ inheritance. Some divorced couples opt to keep the family home as an investment property to provide an inheritance for their children.
- Refinance your home loan. If one person is being removed from the property title and from the obligation to make mortgage repayments, you’ll need to speak to your lender about refinancing your home loan as part of the divorce settlement.
- Buy out your ex-spouse. Depending on your financial situation and the advice you receive from your solicitor, the best option may be to buy your ex-spouse’s share of the family home.
There are a myriad of potential scenarios that could arise depending on your personal circumstances, so ask your solicitor for advice and guidance on the best approach.
How much does it cost to remove someone’s name from a property title?
It will depend what state the property is in. For example, the minimum fee payable when changing the title to have someone removed from a property title in NSW is $133.48. This fee must be paid to the NSW Government Land & Property Information Department.
However, if you choose to get a property lawyer or licensed conveyancer to carry out this task, you will need to factor their fees into the equation. Speak with your chosen property law expert to get an accurate quote for their services.
What about stamp duty?
In the vast majority of cases, stamp duty is payable on a title transfer regardless of whether the transfer involved money changing hands. However, you may be able to avoid paying stamp duty if you are getting your spouse or de facto partner’s name removed from a property title following a divorce or relationship breakdown. You’ll need to meet specific conditions to qualify for this exemption.
For example, in NSW, the Chief Commissioner must be of the opinion that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or that the de facto relationship has been terminated. You will also need to lodge evidence to support your application, such as a copy of a court order or of a legally binding financial agreement made by you and your spouse.
You can access the relevant stamp duty exemption application forms from your state revenue office.
Other frequently asked questions about removing someone’s name from a property title
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