Law 101

Deeds and Affidavits

Deeds and affidavits are used to change, add, or remove names on real estate. Changes to the title (ownership record) of a property must be recorded with the County Recorder where the real estate is located.

Adding or changing names: Sales, gifts, divorces, trusts

Deeds are used when the current owner agrees to add or change names on the title. Common reasons are the sale of the property, adding family members to the title to avoid probate, one spouse receiving the property in a divorce, or the owners transferring the property into a trust.

Death of property owner or trustee

Affidavits are used when the property is owned by more than one person, or by a trust, and an owner or trustee dies. The remaining owner(s) or the new trustee record an affidavit of death to remove the deceased from the title. The estate representative must also file a “Change in Ownership Statement Death of Real Property Owner​” with the county assessor’s office.

If a property owner dies, and no affidavit applies, the property usually must go through probate court to be officially transferred to its new owner(s).

Sacramento County Real Estate Records

deed Sacramento Clerk Recorder
Sacramento County Clerk Recorder
Sacramento Assessor
Sacramento County Assessor’s Office


The Sacramento County Public Law Library has prepared forms for some common situations relating to real property. For other situations, you may need to create your own forms, or obtain forms from the Sacramento County Assessor. Many of our Research Guides have instructions and samples for commonly-used forms.

Form Resources

Sale of real property Deeds and Affidavits from the Law Library Forms may be completed and printed, or filled out by hand.
Keyboard Sacramento County Assessor Includes PCOR and forms for use after death of property owners.
Choosing the Type of Deed to Use Overview of types of deeds and their uses.
Clearing Title after a Death

Research Guides

The Law Librarians have created these research guides as an aid for those starting a legal research project. These guides recommend print and electronic resources that will help you find answers to your law-related questions. Many guides provide step-by-step information, as well as sample forms, for common legal procedures.

Common Questions

The Law Librarians write brief articles on a variety of common legal issues.


The Law Librarians created these pamphlets in response to frequently asked questions on subjects not appropriate for more substantive guides.

Related Websites

These websites provide information about real estate and about transferring property after death.

Wills, Estates, and Probate From the California Courts Self-Help Center. Information about probate.
Residential Insurance Guides
Home Cal Land Title Association Consumer Library
Transferring Real Estate After Death