If You No Longer Own it… Sign it Over


Here is a piece of legal advice for free that can save you a lot of money and hassles in the future. If you no longer own it, get it out of your name!

This applies to a home, other piece of real property, auto, boat, or anything else that is “titled” or “deeded” to an owner. 

You may be tempted to think, “Let the new owner handle the transfer. It isn’t my problem anymore.” Whether you sold a car or “lost” your home in your divorce, there are some very important reasons why you should get your name off of the title (or deed) of something you no longer own.


  1. If someone gets hurt, you don’t want liability. If someone gets hurt by a motor vehicle and the title is still in your name, or if a trespasser wanders on to a piece of real estate that is still deeded to you and breaks a leg you may find yourself getting served with a lawsuit for something you haven’t really “owned” in years.  Sure, it isn’t yours, but now you have to prove it.
  2. It keeps the records straight.  When you own real property, a lot of record keeping goes with it, whether you realize it or not.   The county tax records, the county real estate records, your tax returns and your personal list of what you own and insure should all match reality.
  3. It keeps your credit report straight.  If you are trying to get a loan or mortgage, you don’t want old, inaccurate information showing up.  When you are applying for a new loan or mortgage and are able to show evidence of what you really own (and don’t own) you will have an easier job of it.
  4. It keeps you from having to get involved in other people’s business.  If  transfers aren’t done your signature may be requested years later by new owners or potential owners before the vehicle or property can be sold.  In some cases, you may even be served with legal papers by a party trying to obtain a “clear” title.
  5. It keeps you from getting in trouble with the divorce judge. If you have a final decree of divorce and are ordered to sign over property to your ex, do so.  Not doing so can subject you to a motion for enforcement, possible contempt findings and attorneys fees.
If you don’t own it, it isn’t helping you.  So, don’t let it be a potential source of liability to you.
Once you sell a vehicle, you can file a sworn affidavit with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, to notify the DMV that you no longer own the vehicle (rather than relying on the new owner to do so).   If you need help with transferring real estate out of your name, you may need to contact a lawyer to help you draft and file the proper deeds.

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