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Name change doesn’t alter home ownership

By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | Nov 5, 2020

Eric Feichthaler

Dear Mr. Feichthaler:

I recently purchased a house in Cape Coral and obtained a loan from a local bank. Soon after, I legally changed my last name. The lender contacted me and said I must prepare and record a deed changing the name. Do I need to go to this expense and trouble?

— Veronica T.

Dear Veronica,

Your ownership of the property is not dependent on your name, and what it may change to. We often come across situations like this, primarily where someone acquires a property as a single person, then is married. The beneficial ownership does not change with the name change, so there is no issue from a legal perspective to leave the deed as is. When you eventually sell the property, you will need to establish you are the actual owner through a name affidavit, which may require details of how the name change came about. Your mortgage and note likely do not require you to pay for this new deed. Since you have a mortgage already, there is a chance that the county will want to collect transfer tax, based on the mortgage value. Of course, you would argue there wasn’t actually a transfer of any rights therefore no transfer tax. This further demonstrates why “deeding to yourself” is at best meaningless, and at worse could cause issues with government authorities and cause unneeded waste of time and expense.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 33 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 20 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.