It is not uncommon for a person’s name to change after a property has been registered in their former name. This may happen when an individual’s marital status changes, or for various personal reasons, and depending on the reason for the name change, a different process should be followed.
Registering a name change with the Deeds Office
Should an individual own property, and later undergo a name change due to a change in marital status, there is no legal obligation to endorse the title deeds of a property with the name change. This name change will be deemed to have been done by operation of law. Whenever the title deed is being dealt with after this name change, the new name will then be used/inserted. In other words, the parties can, if they so wish, apply to have the deeds amended to reflect the new name at date of marriage, but it isn’t required by law.
However, there are also various other reasons why a person may choose to change his or her name or surname. Should this happen after a property is purchased and registered in his or her former name, the change will need to be registered with the Deeds Office in the form of an application for an endorsement against the relevant title deed of the property, as set out in Section 93(1) of the Deeds Registries Act, 47 of 1937. This will also require prior advertisements in the Government Gazette.
The process to follow
In order to add an endorsement relating to the required name change against the title deed of a property, a conveyancer will need to be consulted.
The conveyancer will facilitate the process and attend to the necessary advertisements in the Government Gazette. He or she will also will draw up the necessary documents in terms of Section 93(1) of the Deeds Registries Act, and lodge these in the Deeds Registry. The Deeds Office will examine the lodged documents and will execute / register the endorsement if all is in good order.
While there are no significant repercussions involved for not endorsing a title deed with a name change, it will be necessary to do so should the person in question need to transact or deal with the property.
Written by Wessel de Kock