Land Records Name Change due to Marriage or Divorce

Updating Real Estate Land Records to Reflect a Name Change

What Happens To My Real Estate Mortgage and Deed if my name changes?

Often, we run into a scenario where an individuals name changed after they purchased or otherwise took title to a real estate property. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, but the most common is in the case of marriage and/or divorce.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. Adam and Eve are a young couple. They live together in a rental apartment but they really want a dog. So, even though they are not married, they purchase a home together with a loan from a bank. Eve takes title and signs all documents in her maiden name. A year later Adam and Eve get married. Eve takes Adam’s last name and changes her name legally. 3 years later, they have a baby and want to put on an addition. They decide they are going to do a cash out refinance and use the cash out funds for the addition. The title company does a title search, and title comes back in Eve’s maiden name. Her drivers license and passport now contain her married name. What do we do?

There are two common ways we can fix the land records.

Before Eve changed her name, she could have Quit Claimed her interest to herself in her married name, and then changed her name legally.

If Eve has already changed her legal name, as in our scenario above, she can execute a Name Change Affidavit aka Change of Name Certificate.

The documents have to be recorded on the land records and a filing fee paid to the town.

What is a Name Change Affidavit or Change of Name Certificate?

A Name Change Affidavit or Change of Name Certificate is a legally binding document that is recorded on the land records to give public notice of a name change. This can be used for a few purpose but the most common seems to be for correcting the names of individuals in real estate documents. The Certificate of Name Change must comply with many of the same requirements as a Deed.

Do you need to update your name on the land records?

If you need to update your name on the land records, we can help by drafting, executing and recording your Certificate of Name Change in the town the property is located in. We charge a flat fee for this service of $400 plus filing fees with the town which are usually $60.

If you have any questions please give us a call at 203-885-0500.

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