Avoid a Race with Death to the County Recorder’s Office at DeedAndRecord.com

Death bed transfers to sever joint tenancy in real property require strict compliance with California Civil Code Section 683.2(c).  Either before the death of the severing joint tenant, the quit claim deed to severe joint tenancy is recorded in the county where the real property is located; or the quit claim deed to severe joint tenancy is executed and acknowledged before a notary public not earlier than three days before the death of that joint tenant and is recorded in the county where the real property is located not later than seven days after the death of the severing joint tenant.

 A dispute between a former girl friend of the decedent and his new girl friend arose over ownership of a house. Decedent’s quit claim deed to his new girl friend was recorded 59 minutes after his death.  The joint tenancy was not severed because the quitclaim deed in question was executed before the three day grace period and was not timely recorded.  

 The old girl friend was on title as joint tenant. On his death bed her former boy friend wanted his half of the house to go to his new girl friend. He executed a quit claim deed to give away his half of the house to his new girl friend.

 Eight days before his death, the decedent signed a quitclaim deed conveying his interest in the property .He died on March 29, 1995, at 11:55 a.m..  A friend handed the quitclaim deed to the recording clerk at 11:15 a.m. on the date of death. However, a preliminary change of ownership and some additional form were needed. The recording clerk supplied the friend with the additional forms. At 12:54 p.m., the friend handed the quitclaim deed, together with the completed forms and fees to the cashier in the county recorder’s office and the deed was recorded. But the deed was recorded after death and the deed was executed before the three day grace period. The old girl friend was the owner of the entire house. She promptly kicked out the new girl friend.

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