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How Much Does It Cost To Change Names on a Land Title in Alberta?

Image Source: Unsplash.com

The current forecast for Alberta’s real estate market is one of the most promising across Canada. This also indicates that land title transfers and name changes in the province are as routine as ever. 

What people may be surprised to know is that the process of changing the name on a land title is different from buying or selling the property. For example, the sale or purchase of land often involves mortgages, property reports, estoppel certificates, and an exchange of money. Name changes on land titles don’t. 

However, the one thing they both have in common is transfer fees. Similar to buying or selling real estate, changing land title names in Alberta comes with costs, which we’ll discuss in the sections below. 

Key Takeaways:

  • People have varying reasons for changing names on land titles. 
  • There are risks to changing ownership.
  • The cost of changing the name on a land title is lower in Alberta than in other provinces. 

What are the costs of a title transfer or name change in Alberta, Canada? 

You can change the name on a land title in Canada for a variety of reasons. For example, perhaps you abandoned your real name through a Statutory Declaration, or you got married, entered into an adult independent partnership, or discovered a clerical error on your existing title.  

The purchase or sale of a property will also require the name on a land title to be changed. The same goes for the distribution of properties among a deceased owner’s heirs. 

There could be many more reasons to change the name on a land title. Regardless of the reason, the Land Titles Act sets the costs, which must be paid to the Alberta Land Titles Office. A base fee of $50 applies to all land transfers, and it costs $15 to change a name that doesn’t affect the title’s ownership. 

General additional fees

Adding, removing, or changing multiple names on a land title doesn’t have any additional land title fees. However, on top of the base fee, a land title transfer of ownership will cost $2 more for every $5,000 of the property value. This is known as the Land Transfer Registration Fee. Additionally, the Land Titles Office will collect a Mortgage Registration Fee of $50 plus $1.50 for every $5,000 of the mortgage.

Note that there are no tax rebates in Alberta. The good news is that you don’t have to pay any Land Transfer Tax either.

What are the potential risks of adding or changing names on land titles?  

While the law generally allows the transfer of land or land titles from one owner to another, there are certain risks. It’s wise to pause and identify any potential legal issues before you take any steps. 

For example, a real property title transfer can lead to unexpected tax consequences, which generally happen because of capital gains or deemed disposition. Another risk is having to sell your home or donate it to someone. 

Changing the name on a land title can also cause problems with the division of marital property or the loss of the property’s exempt status. If the property comes with a mortgage, a lender may place a claim against an individual whose name appears on the title. 

Moreover, remember that a transfer of title is allowed even for a property with an encumbrance, such as a lien. A transfer of ownership comes with all the liabilities attached to that land. With a quick title search, you can get background information on any property that involves you.

How do you add, remove, or change a name on a land title?

Changing the name on a land title in Alberta primarily involves filling out and submitting the necessary forms and documents. The required forms and documents may vary depending on the reason for the name change. 

Forms per purpose

You should carefully review this section, so you don’t waste time on the wrong form. If you need help determining which one you’ll need, you can contact the Land Titles Office. 

Adding or removing a name

Transfer of Land Form

Every person currently registered as an owner of the property should sign the form.  

Removing the name of a deceased joint tenant 

Statutory Declaration on Proof of Death

Submit this form with an original or notarized copy of a certificate from the Vital Statistics Registry, Medical Examiner, funeral director, crematorium, or any counterpart authority for deaths outside Alberta. The Land Titles Office will keep most of the original certificates you submit. However, the deceased tenant’s original death certificate will be returned to you. 

Remove a deceased tenant-in-common or sole owner

Application for Transmission to Personal Representative

Submit this form with an original copy of the Grant of Probate, which is also known as Letters of Administration, that you obtained from the Surrogate Court of Alberta. If the document was issued outside Alberta, it must be re-sealed by the Surrogate Court of Alberta. Notarized copies won’t be accepted.

Change of name

General 

Marital 

Adult Interdependent Partnership 

Fill out and submit the form that reflects the reason for the change of name. 

Submitting the forms

You can fill out all forms online and then send them by email to lto@gov.ab.ca. Otherwise, you can print and mail them to the Land Titles Office in either Edmonton or Calgary. Here are their addresses:  

Box 2380

Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2T3

Box 7575

Calgary, Alberta T2P 2R4

How hiring a lawyer helps 

Changing the name on a land title is generally not complicated. However, preparing the forms and documents for submission may make the process slightly complex.  

For example, to change the name on a title, you’ll have to attach a value to indicate how much you think the property is worth. If the title has or will have two or more registered owners, the group must decide how to hold the ownership. Unless you have experience with these transactions, you probably have no idea how they work.  

The circumstances surrounding the name change can make it even more complicated. An example of this is when an entire family of stakeholders expects to see each of their names on a single title. 

Therefore, it’s best to hire a lawyer to handle this process. In fact, the most obvious benefit of having a lawyer is convenience. More importantly, you save yourself the frustration of having the documents sent back to you because you made an error, which is also a waste of your valuable time. 

Did you know?

Alberta’s Land Titles Office used to have a typical turnaround time of five days when registering land titles or two weeks during peak times. This changed in 2022 when the office accumulated an immense backlog, resulting in processing delays of 3-4 months.

Let Diamond & Diamond Handle the Process for You

Title transfer, and other title name changes follow a fairly simple process. The costs are also relatively straightforward. A base fee of $50 is charged for a title transfer, plus added fees that depend on the property’s value and mortgage. For name changes that don’t impact title ownership, the base fee is $15. 

However, as with any legal process, a title name change can become tricky under unusual circumstances. In that case, hiring a lawyer may be the most sensible thing to do.

Contact Diamond & Diamond Alberta if you have questions about the process or need assistance. We would be happy to address any concerns about real estate law and more.

 

FAQs on Transferring Land Title in Alberta Costs/Fees: Changing Names on Title  

1. What is a due-on-sale clause on a mortgage?

A due-on-sale clause on a mortgage applies when a borrower sells a mortgaged property with an unpaid balance. Under this provision of a mortgage contract, the borrower must settle the balance in full upon selling the property.  

2. What scenarios can increase the cost of a land title transfer or change of name?  

Sometimes, a land title change of name will entail further costs. For example, transferring land ownership to a person with a mental disability can make the case more complicated and, therefore, more expensive. The more complex the situation, the higher the cost.  

3. What is a quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed is a document that surrenders a person’s right to a property as part of the title transfer process. When someone signs this document, it means that they no longer have any ties to the property. However, since the transaction does not involve any money or warranty, the risk is often higher for the home buyer. Therefore, a quitclaim deed is usually signed only between a transferor and transferee who trust each other.  

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