October 22, 2017

How to Remove a Name of Deceased Owner from Title

One of the questions this office is most frequently asked is how to remove the name of a deceased person from the deed to property or how to otherwise “clear up” the deed, so the property can be conveyed.
Unfortunately, this is not a process that is so easily accomplished that individuals can be assured of doing it correctly without the assistance of an attorney.  The Register of Deeds is a filer and may file only documents that are in recordable form.  Just because you may get a document recorded doesn’t mean it will transfer property.  Once those documents are recorded, they must meet the satisfaction of a title examiner.  A title examiner is a person who is from a licensed abstractor from a title company or an attorney.  The title examiner usually doesn’t come into play until the property is about to be sold.  This may be several years later and then someone that should have signed the documents may be deceased or taxes that should have been paid may be subject to interest and penalties.

Many office supply stores sell legal forms and there are reference books available in bookstores and libraries which provide some direction in the use of these forms.  You would probably be best served by a South Dakota attorney.  If you do not have an attorney, the South Dakota Bar Association maintains a list and can refer you to someone with the skills you need.  They can be reached at 222 East Capitol,  Pierre, South Dakota.  Telephone No.: 605-224-7554 in state watts line of 1-800-952-2333.

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