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Q&A Series: Is there an easy way to change my name on the deed to my house?




Question: Is there an easy way to change my name on the deed to my house?

I got married last summer and it seems very complicated! I asked the Register of Deeds office in Milwaukee through email and they stated something about creating a new deed first and gave me a link to the law library in Madison, and then something about an e-RETR. I tried filling it out, but it is complicated, too. I can't figure out how I'm the grantor and the grantee without giving away rights, and all that. We don't have the money for an attorney for what should be simple paperwork. Am I missing something?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton Response:

The previous attorneys have given you good advice. If you just need to change your name on the deed, then it is likely you will be the grantor and the grantee, from yourself as your old name, to yourself as your new name. If you are married, you should think about how you want to hold title and whether you want to add your spouse to the deed. In Wisconsin, a married couple can hold property as marital property with rights of survivorship, if they so choose, meaning that if one of you should die, the property would pass entirely non-probate to the surviving spouse. This may or may not be how you want to hold title however, so I recommend speaking with an attorney who can help you draft the proper deed. Remember that in Wisconsin a licensed attorney is the only person who can legally draft a deed for you. You can also draft the deed yourself, but in this case I suggest using some self help legal books, or educating yourself thoroughly through online resources before attempting to draft the deed in order to ensure you get it right. As you have discovered the online Electronic Real Estate Transfer Return is its own beast and one you will have to overcome to successfully record your deed. Good luck to you!

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. You should seek a consultation with a licensed attorney in your area if you seek a complete review and discussion of your situation.

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