Home » Texas
Texas Deed Forms for Real Estate Transfers
Attorney (J.D., LL.M.)
Last updated May 09, 2023
Table of Contents
Need to transfer Texas real estate?
Our deed creation software makes it easy. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed that is attorney-designed to meet Texas recording requirements.
Get Your Deed Today
A deed is a written instrument used to transfer real estate. A deed allows the current owner (the grantor ) to transfer Texas real estate to a new owner (the grantee ). The owner’s goals determine which type of deed is best for a specific transfer.
What types of deeds are used to transfer Texas real estate?
Texas recognizes four types of deeds that an owner can use to transfer real estate during the owner’s lifetime. Each type of deed is defined by the warranty of title that it provides (or does not provide).
Texas Quitclaim Deed Form
A Texas quitclaim deed form releases the current owner’s interest in property with no warranty. The new owner receives whatever ownership interest (if any) the current owner can legally transfer. The new owner bears the risk that there may be problems with the property’s title.
Texas Deed Without Warranty Form
A Texas deed without warranty form transfers real estate with no warranty. A deed without warranty works similarly to a quitclaim deed, but Texas title insurance companies prefer deeds without warranty. So, a deed without warranty is often the better option for an owner who wants a deed that provides no warranty.
Texas Special Warranty Deed Form
A Texas special warranty deed form transfers real estate with a limited warranty—sometimes called a special warranty . A limited warranty covers the time during which the person signing the special warranty deed owned the property. The new owner assumes the risk that the property’s title may have issues that arose before the current owner acquired the property.
Texas General Warranty Deed Form
A Texas warranty deed form transfers real estate with a complete warranty that covers the property’s entire history. 1 The current owner guarantees that there are no issues with the property’s title that the deed does not identify. Texas warranty deeds are sometimes called general warranty deeds because they provide a general warranty that is not limited to any specific time.
Questions about what Texas deed form is right for you?
Click the link below to use our guided interview. We’ll go over the options that are available in Texas and provide guidance on choosing the deed form that matches your goals.
What types of estate planning deeds are used in Texas?
Property owners can use estate-planning deeds to transfer ownership of real estate when the owner dies. There are three types of estate-planning deeds used in Texas. Each type of estate-planning deed is named after the probate avoidance feature it provides.
Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Deed Form
A Texas transfer-on-death deed form —or TOD deed —allows the owner to name a beneficiary to take ownership of real estate when the owner dies. 2 The owner keeps all of his or her rights in the property while still living.
Texas Life Estate Deed Form
A Texas life estate deed form creates two separate ownership interests in the real estate. One owner—called a life tenant —has the right to immediate possession of the property. The other owner—called the remainder beneficiary —holds the right to take possession of the property when the life tenant dies.
Texas Enhanced Life Estate Deed Form
A Texas enhanced life estate deed form —informally called a lady bird deed —is a special type of life estate deed. A lady bird deed gives the life tenant greater control over the property than a standard life estate deed. The enhanced control lets the life tenant sell or transfer the property—or change his or her mind about the Lady Bird deed—without the remainder beneficiary’s consent.
There can be overlap between the different Texas deed categories. For example, a lady bird deed could also be a quitclaim deed if it provides no warranty of title.
Need a Texas transfer-on-death deed?
In states that recognize them, transfer-on-death-deeds (sometimes called beneficiary deeds ) are popular probate avoidance tools. Our TOD deed creation software makes it easy to create one. Click the link below to get started.
Get a TOD Deed Today
What are the ways that multiple owners can hold title to Texas real estate?
There are several ways that multiple owners may acquire title to Texas real estate by deed. These forms of co-ownership usually turn on whether the co-owners have a right of survivorship —which means that a deceased co-owner’s interest automatically transfers to surviving co-owners. If co-owners own real estate without a right of survivorship, a deceased co-owner’s interest does not transfer to surviving co-owners. It instead becomes part of the deceased co-owners probate estate and passes to his or her heirs.
A right of survivorship is only possible when there is a human lifetime to determine when the right of survivorship takes effect. Business entities and trusts do not have a “lifetime,” so a right of survivorship is not possible when one or more of the co-owners is a business or trust.
The default rule in Texas is that jointly owned property does not include a right of survivorship. 3 But this is only a default rule. There are several ways joint owners can use Texas deeds and related documents to create a right of survivorship.
Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
Owners who hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship have a right of survivorship in the property. Upon one owner’s death, his or her interest automatically transfers to the surviving joint owner or owners.
Many states only require a short phrase in the deed to create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Texas law is different. New co-owners of Texas real estate must create a separate survivorship agreement if they want to own the property as joint tenants with right of survivorship. 4
Our deed creation software automatically includes any survivorship agreements needed to create a right of survivorship if the new owners intend to own the property with a right of survivorship.
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a useful tool when an owner wants the property to pass to the surviving joint owner. When a co-owner dies, transfer to the surviving co-owner is relatively simple and can often be accomplished outside of the probate process.
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is very common in other states and is allowed by Texas law. However, some third parties—like lenders and title companies—are reluctant to recognize this co-ownership form for Texas real estate. Some title companies decline to insure title to Texas property owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Lenders may also be uncomfortable with joint tenancy with right of survivorship language in the Texas loan documents. An owner who plans to mortgage Texas real estate should check with the lender before creating a joint tenancy with right of survivorship.
Tenancy in Common
Co-owners of Texas real estate who do not want a right of survivorship can own Texas real estate in a tenancy in common—also called a co-tenancy or a joint tenancy without right of survivorship . The co-owners are called tenants in common , and Texas’ default rule determines what happens when a tenant in common dies. Specifically, the deceased co-owner’s interest passes through probate to his or her heirs. The interest does not automatically pass to the surviving joint owner. 5
Tenancy in common is a good alternative for co-owners who want their interests in Texas real estate to pass to their heirs instead of the surviving joint owner. But tenancy in common has a downside: There is no right of survivorship, so the Texas probate process may be needed to transfer title to the deceased owner’s family.
Ownership as tenants in common can also be complicated by Texas community property law—which comes into play when a property owner is married. The effect of Texas’ community property system is that—in addition to the wording of the deed—actual ownership of a tenant-in-common interest depends on:
- The marital status of the person listed on the deed;
- Whether he or she acquired the property during the marriage; and
- Whether any special circumstances change the characterization of the marital property from community to separate property. 6
What are the rules for spousal ownership of Texas real estate?
Texas has special rules when a property owner is married. Individuals who are married (or expect to be married in the future) should consider Texas’ spousal ownership rules when transferring or receiving ownership of Texas real estate.
Texas is a community property state. With certain exceptions, Texas law presumes that any real estate interest a married person acquires during the marriage is jointly owned with his or her spouse as community property . 7 This is true even if the Texas deed only lists one spouse. Each spouse generally owns a one-half interest in the couple’s community property. 8
Real estate held as community property does not automatically include survivorship rights between the spouses. Instead, when a spouse dies, the deceased spouse’s one-half interest in the real estate passes according to the deceased spouse’s will or Texas intestacy law (i.e., the inheritance system that applies when a deceased person has no will). The surviving spouse continues to own his or her one-half interest in the couple’s community property.
Community Property with Right of Survivorship
Married spouses can ensure that a surviving spouse automatically receives title to real estate owned as community property by creating a community property survivorship agreement —which is an “agreement between spouses creating a right of survivorship in community property.” 9 A valid community property survivorship agreement entered into by spouses ensures that some or all of their community property—including real estate—becomes the surviving spouse’s property when the other spouse dies. 10
Our deed creation software includes a community property survivorship agreement when necessary to create a right of survivorship.
Texas does not recognize dower or curtesy rights that require a non-owner spouse’s signature on a deed that transfers property owned solely by the other spouse. However, Texas law requires both spouses to sign a deed if the transferred real estate is the couple’s marital home—called the homestead . 11 A deed that transfers a Texas homestead must have both spouses’ signatures regardless of whether the homestead is owned as community property or is one spouse’s separate property.
Where are deeds filed in Texas?
A Texas deed must be recorded in the land records of the county where the property is located. 12 Each county has a county clerk responsible for keeping the county’s land records and receiving deeds filed for recording. 13
How much does it cost to file a Texas deed?
The county clerk charges a recording fee for recording a Texas deed. 14 Total recording fee amounts consist of several related fees, so the precise amount varies by county and by deed. 15 A typical recording fee amount is around $26.00 for the deed’s first page and $4.00 for each additional page.
Does Texas charge a transfer tax on real estate transfers?
Texas does not charge a transfer tax or deed tax for transferring Texas real estate or recording a deed that transfers title to a new owner.
Does Texas require any other form when recording a deed?
Texas does not require a cover page, transfer tax return, or other additional documents when recording a deed. Some deeds may need to be accompanied by one or more additional documents—such as a declaration of trust, power of attorney, or statement of authority—depending on the deed’s purpose.
Get a Texas deed in minutes
Our deed creation service makes it easy to prepare customized, state-specific deeds to Texas real estate. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed that is attorney-designed to meet Texas recording requirements.
Get a Customized Texas Deed Today
- Tex. Prop. Code § 5.022 .
- Tex. Est. Code § 114.051 .
- Tex. Est. Code § 101.002 .
- Tex. Est. Code § 111.001 .
- Tex. Est. Code § 101.002(a) .
- Tex. Fam. Code § 3.003 .
- Tex. Fam. Code § 3.002 .
- Farmers Tex. Cnty. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Okelberry ex rel. Okelberry , 525 S.W.3d 786 (Tex. App. 2017) .
- Tex. Est. Code § 112.001 .
- Tex. Est. Code § 112.051 .
- Tex. Fam. Code § 5.001 .
- Tex. Prop. Code § 11.001 .
- Tex. Prop. Code § 11.004 .
- Tex. Prop. Code § 11.003(c) .
- Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code §§ 118.011(a) ; 118.013 .
Get a Texas Deed Today
- Texas deed form customized to your situation
- Attorney-designed to meet Texas’s recording requirements
- Easy step-by-step instructions for signing and filing
Get Deed Now
Guaranteed to Meet State Formatting Requirements
Get a customized deed for only $59.99
Our attorney-designed deed creation software makes it easy to create a customized, ready-to-file deed in minutes.
Our user-friendly interview walks you through the process with state-specific guidance to help you create the right deed for your state.
Complete the interview at no charge. Only pay when you’re ready to create the deed.
No hidden fees or recurring costs. Just a one-time, up-front fee for a customized deed and any related documents that you need.
Need to make a correction? No problem. Re-access the interview and create a new document at no additional charge.
- Deed Transfers in Texas
More Real Estate Law
- Real Estate Law
- Transfer on Death Deeds
- Restrictive Covenants
- Garza County Abstract
Are you selling your house and need to transfer ownership? Or is there any other life circumstance where you need to put your property into the hands of another person? If so, you will need to transfer your real estate deed.
A deed is a written document that conveys legal and equitable title to real property. A deed will list the old owner, known as the “seller” or “grantor”, and the new owner, known as the “buyer” or “grantee”. While there are many reasons to transfer deeds, you’ll generally need to do so if someone’s name is removed or changed on the property title. Transfers of real property must be in writing and notarized. Deeds should be recorded in the county where the property is located. To ensure a legal change to the property title, you’ll want the services of an attorney. A qualified attorney will prepare and file the real estate transfer deed. Be prepared to provide basic information about both the property in question and the individuals who need to be listed on the title.
The following are several types of deeds used for the transfer or real property in Texas:
A warranty deed is the most common type of deed used in most purchase and sale transactions. It offers the best protection for the grantee because it guarantees that the title is good and marketable. In most land sales, the buyer expects the seller to convey valid, ‘clean’ title. This is also especially important to the buyer’s lender. The seller warrants to the buyer that the seller actually owns the land and has the right to sell it. Such a warranty is called a “warranty of title,” and it is conveyed in a Warranty Deed. There are two kinds of Warranty Deeds: the Special Warranty Deed, and the General Warranty Deed.
General Warranty Deed
When a seller makes a general warranty, the seller warrants that not only has the seller not personally done anything to adversely affect the title being conveyed, but neither has anyone else who has ever owned the property. If the buyer’s title is lost or impaired because of a previously unknown defect in the title, the seller will be liable to the buyer for the loss even if the seller had no reason to know of the forgery.
Special Warranty Deed
Transfer of property may also be done through a special or limited warranty deed or quitclaim deed. When a seller executes a Special Warranty Deed, the seller warrants only that he has not personally done anything to adversely affect the title being conveyed. However, if the title is impaired because someone else forged a prior owner’s signature on a deed, or sold the property in violation of a court order, the seller would not be liable because the seller did not personally cause the title defect. A special or limited warranty deed gives the grantee greater protection than a quitclaim deed and less protection than a full or general warranty deed.
When a grantor signs a Quitclaim Deed, they surrender whatever rights they have in the property. They walk away and have no responsibility to the purchaser. Quitclaim Deeds can be useful in clearing title in limited circumstances, such as when there is a question about whether a particular heir has a claim to the property, or where a person may have acquired title by adverse possession. In most cases, however, it is preferable to use another kind of deed.
Deed of Trust
A deed of trust or trust deed is similar to a mortgage. Title is transferred to a trustee, which is usually a trust or title company that holds the real property as security for the borrower’s loan. At the time the loan is paid in full, title is transferred to the borrower. The only power that the trustee has is the power of sale if the borrower defaults. The trustee can then sell the property to pay off the lender at a foreclosure sale auction.
Transfer on Death Deed
Information on Transfer on Death Deeds can be found here .
We have years of experience within the real estate industry and we know the intricacies of title transfer processes. If you need assistance with these matters, contact us now .
CONTACT US TODAY TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP
SERVING LUBBOCK, WEST TEXAS, AND NEW MEXICO
Our team practice areas locations.
[email protected] Lubbock: 806-368-8712 Post: 806-368-8712 Hereford: 806-360-4488 New Mexico: 575-222-1175
- Criminal Defense
- Business Law
- Personal Injury & Civil Litigation
- Estate Planning
- Driver’s License Issues
- Lubbock, Texas
- Post, Texas
- Hereford, Texas
- Our Commitment
- Online Legal Documents
- The “Must Haves” When Hiring a Lawyer
The Texas Transfer on Death Deed
July 30, 2023 by Rania Combs
Below are answers to a few FAQs about the Texas Transfer on Death Deed along with quick links to get you to the information you are seeking:
- What are the requirements of a Texas Transfer on Death Deed?
- Is delivery and acceptance of the deed required?
- Is it possible to name more than one beneficiary?
- Should a spouse be named as primary Beneficiary of jointly owned property?
- Can I revoke a Texas Transfer on Death Deed?
- Can a Transfer on Death Deed be created through use of a power of attorney?
- How Does a Transfer on Death Deed become effective after the owner’s death?
- Does a Texas Transfer on Death Deed prevent Medicaid estate recovery?
- Is it necessary to have a Will if you have a Transfer on Death Deed
E ffective September 1, 2015, Texas joined the growing number of states that allow owners of real estate to transfer property to their beneficiaries outside the probate process by creating the Texas Transfer on Death Deed.
The deed works like a beneficiary designation on a retirement plan or an insurance policy. It allows you to name a primary and contingent beneficiary who will inherit your real property after you die.
This is good news for many Texans with modest estates whose only probate asset is their home.
What are the Requirements of a Texas Transfer on Death Deed?
To be effective, the deed must:
- It must be in writing
- Contain the legal description of the property
- Include the Name and Address of the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries
- Be signed by the Grantor (the property owner) in the presence of a Notary Public
- State that the transfer of the Grantor’s interest to the designated beneficiary will not occur until the Grantor’s death; and
- Be recorded before the Grantor’s death in the deed records in the county clerk’s office of the county where the real property is located.
Is Delivery and Acceptance of the Deed Required?
Notice or delivery to or acceptance of the deed by the designated beneficiary is not required. As long as the deed is recorded in the county clerk’s office before the Grantor’s death, it will be effective to transfer property outside of probate.
Is it Possible to Name More Than One Beneficiary?
Yes. It is possible to name more than one beneficiary, but you should proceed with caution.
If you name more than one beneficiary, Section 114.103 of the Texas Estates Code provides that each beneficiary will inherit the property in equal and undivided shares with no right of survivorship.
In plain English, this means that you may not leave varying percentages to several individuals. All will inherit an equal share of the property. For example, if you name two beneficiaries, each would inherit a 50% share. If you name four beneficiaries, each would inherit a 25% share. You can’t give one beneficiary a 50% share and two other beneficiaries a 25% share.
Additionally, the statute specifies that there is no right of survivorship. That means that if you name multiple beneficiaries, and one predeceases you, the deceased beneficiary’s share will not pass to the surviving beneficiaries.
Therefore, it is a still a good idea to have a Will. A Will allows you to specify who will inherit the property if your Transfer on Death Deed beneficiaries predecease you.
Should a Spouse be Named as Primary Beneficiary of Jointly Owned Property?
The answer to this question depends on whether you own your property as tenants in common or joint tenants with rights of survivorship.
Most couples who own property jointly in Texas own the property as tenants in common. If a couple owns the property as tenants in common and one of them dies, the survivor will not automatically inherit the property. Rather, it would be necessary to name each spouse as the primary beneficiary for the deceased spouse’s interest to pass to the survivor.
Can I Revoke a Texas Transfer on Death Deed?
Yes. A Transfer on Death Deed is completely revocable during the life of the Grantor. A grantor can revoke a Transfer on Death Deed in one of the following ways:
- By signing a new Transfer on Death Deed that revokes the prior one or specifies that the property should pass to someone else;
- By signing a separate document that expressly revokes the prior Transfer on Death Deed. Note, however, a Grantor cannot revoke a Transfer on Death Deed by making a contrary provision in a Will.
The Grantor must sign the revocation in front of a notary and record it before the Grantor’s death in the deed records of the county clerk’s office of the county where the property is located.
Additionally, if a Grantor names a spouse as the beneficiary of a Transfer on Death Deed, but the marriage ends in divorce, a final judgment of the court dissolving the marriage will operate to revoke the transfer on death deed as to the divorced spouse only if notice of the judgment is recorded before the Grantor’s death in the deed records in the county clerk’s office of the county where the deed is recorded.
Can Transfer of Death Deed be Created Though Use of Power of Attorney?
No. An agent acting under a power of attorney cannot create a Transfer on Death Deed.
How Does a Transfer of Death Deed Become Effective After the Owner’s Death?
After the Grantor dies, an affidavit of death and a certified copy of the Grantor’s death certificate should be filed in the county clerk’s office of the county where the deed was recorded. This creates a link in the chain of title to show that the beneficiary is now the owner of the property.
The beneficiary takes title subject to all mortgages, liens, judgments, and other encumbrances. The beneficiary does not take the property free and clear.
Does a Transfer on Death Deed Prevent Medicaid Estate Recovery?
The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) can recoup funds Medicaid spent on an individual’s care from his or her estate.
Under current rules, Medicaid can only recover assets included in the deceased individual’s probate estate. A home that is part of a deceased person’s probate estate can be subject to MERP.
However, transfers that avoid probate are not. Therefore, the Texas Transfer on Death deed, which allows property to pass outside of probate, currently avoids MERP.
Texas recognizes that the use of Transfer on Death Deeds can affect the ability of a decedent’s creditors to recover what they are owed. Therefore, the statute specifies that if a Grantor’s estate is not sufficient to the pay the debts of the estate, related taxes, or allowances to the Grantor’s family, the personal representative of the estate can claw a piece of property that the homeowner transferred by transfer on death deed back into the estate.
The personal representative must initiate a proceeding to enforce a liability within 90 days after he receives a demand for payment; otherwise a creditor, an heir of the estate, a surviving spouse, a representative of a minor child or adult incapacitated child, or any taxing authority can initiate a court proceeding to enforce the liability. This means that title companies may be reluctant to insure clear title for two years, until the claims period has expired, absent a court proceeding. In contrast, filing a probate action can significantly reduce claims period against the estate.
Is it necessary to have a Will if you have a Texas Transfer on Death Deed?
Yes. Everyone needs a Will because you may have probate assets other than your real property. Additionally, there is always a possibility that your Transfer on Death Deed beneficiaries will predecease you or die at the same time.
For example, suppose Jill has two adult children, Jack and Annie. Jill creates a Transfer on Death Deed naming Jack as the primary beneficiary of a piece of property and Annie as the alternate beneficiary.
One holiday weekend, Jill, Jack and Annie decide to go to the beach together. On the way there, a tragic accident kills all of them. If Jill dies without a Will, and her beneficiaries die with her, the Texas Intestacy Statutes would control who inherits the property. A Will would have allowed her to choose the beneficiary.
A Transfer on Death deed can be a cost-effective way to transfer property at death without probate. However, it is not a substitute for a Will or the advice of an attorney. Talk to your attorney about whether a Transfer on Death Deed is right for you.
This article was originally posted on August 7, 2015 and updated on July 30, 2023.
Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.
Learn more about how we can help you.
Related articles, frequently asked questions about texas able accounts, how much money can i give without paying gift tax, will distributions from able account for food or shelter reduce ssi benefits.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Top 10 from Texas Bar Today: Blind Spots, Purple Cows, and Mumbo-Jumbo | Texas Bar Today
August 7, 2015 at 1:21pm
[…] The Texas Transfer on Death Deed – Rania Combs @raniacombs of Rania Combs Law in […]
August 20, 2015 at 8:39pm
I assume, then, that with property, the transfer on death deed supersedes the will?
January 19, 2016 at 3:10pm
Yes. The statutes specifies that a Will may not revoke or supersede a transfer on death deed.
September 2, 2015 at 5:50pm
Where do you get this form for Texas?
October 5, 2015 at 1:15pm
You can access TexasLawHelp.org’s free Texas Transfer on Death Deed (pdf) by clicking on the link.
If you try to create the deed on your own, please make sure you follow instructions very carefully. I did have a form on my website for visitors to complete for a small fee; however, the vast majority of those who attempted to complete the form did so incorrectly. This prompted me to remove the form. While the form on texaslawhelp.org gives you a general idea of what the form looks like, it is always best to get an attorney’s advice to make sure it is done correctly.
January 18, 2016 at 1:49pm
I inherited my real estate property and at 45 married for the first time. I am disabled and receive certain property tax benefits keeping the property in my name alone. I like the idea about the transfer on death deed but if filed before my death, will that effect my property taxes. Later, after my death, am I correct to assume that the inheritance taxes would be avoided on the same property by my wife.
January 19, 2016 at 3:07pm
Interest in a property transferred by Transfer on Death Deed does not vest until after the Grantor dies. Texas has no inheritance tax and estate taxes are levied only on the portion of an estate’s value that exceeds the exemption amount. In 2016, the exemption amount is $5.45 million.
January 24, 2016 at 9:45pm
Is there a Transfer on Death Deed form for 401K’s? If so, where do I find it online or on your website? Many thanks in advance.
January 25, 2016 at 2:56pm
Designating a beneficiary of your 401k would allow that asset to pass to the designated beneficiary without the necessity of probate.
February 16, 2016 at 12:57am
Unfortunately texaslawhelp.org does not provide the naked form you need unless I missed something. It mixes the instructions and the deed provisions and tells you not to file the instructions.
A lawyer could glean out the deed from this by eliminating the instructions through either typing his own deed, or perhaps he could copy and paste the parts that make up the deed. You better get a lawyer.
February 16, 2016 at 10:21am
Thanks for your comment. I did have a form on my website for visitors to complete for a small fee; however, the vast majority of those who attempted to complete the form did so incorrectly. This prompted me to remove the form.
While the form on texaslawhelp.org gives you a general idea of what the form looks like, it is always best to get an attorney’s advice to make sure it is done correctly.
February 22, 2016 at 2:27am
I heard that if you create a another transfer on death deed and record it, it causes the first one to basically be void, is that correct? Also, if they convey the real property out prior to the death, it as well voids out the transfer deed. True?
February 26, 2016 at 5:49pm
The statute specifies that a Texas transfer on death deed can be revoked if the homeowner files a new transfer on death deed in the county clerk’s office of the same county in which the original transfer on death deed is recorded. If the homeowner does not own the property when he dies, the transfer on death deed would be invalid.
February 24, 2016 at 11:58pm
My parents have both died and they had no Will. My sister and I are their only children. My sister lives in their house and pays the property taxes. I would like my 1/2 but my sister says Im not entitled to have since she has been living there and has paid taxes and any repairs. Im I entitled to half of this property or not?
February 26, 2016 at 5:02pm
Please accept my condolences for your loss. The following article describes how property is distributed when someone dies without a Will in Texas: Dying Without A Will: The Texas Intestacy Statutes .
Rekha K NAnjegowda
March 30, 2016 at 6:29am
I have a question. What happens if a Transfer On Death Deed is created using a Power of Attorney on behalf of Transferor?
March 30, 2016 at 1:05pm
Thanks for your question. The statute specifically states that an agent acting under a power of attorney cannot create a transfer on death deed.
June 15, 2016 at 11:11pm
The statute provides that an agent acting under a power of attorney may not create a Transfer on Death Deed.
May 7, 2016 at 1:40am
Who gets the house? If Will says house is left to Mary but the house has a transfer on death deed and names John.
June 15, 2016 at 10:51pm
The Transfer on Death Deed statute specifies that the Transfer on Death Deed controls.
May 9, 2016 at 1:51pm
If you file a TOD and specify your daughter. Will her spouse be entitled to the property as well?
June 15, 2016 at 10:49pm
Property that is acquired by inheritance is characterized as separate property in Texas.
May 19, 2016 at 5:10pm
How does this transfer on death deed affect people on Medicaid in Texas as pertains to the policy on the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program?
June 15, 2016 at 10:41pm
Under current rules, Medicaid can only recover assets included in the deceased individual’s probate estate. Therefore, the Texas Transfer on Death deed, which allows property to pass outside of probate, currently avoids estate recovery.
August 19, 2016 at 4:24pm
If I file a Texas TOD Deed, will it effect my homestead exemption now?
August 24, 2016 at 1:33pm
Filing a Texas transfer on death deed should not affect your current homestead exemption.
August 22, 2016 at 8:11pm
Does the price basis of inherited property, provided through a TOD deed in Texas, get stepped up to the current market value of the property upon the death of the property owner? If so, what is the advantage to using a TOD deed versus allowing the property to pass through probate? Thank you for any information you can provide.
August 24, 2016 at 1:30pm
Thanks for your question, Mary. I’ve answered your question here: Does Property Passed by Transfer on Death Deed Get a Step-Up in Basis?
Does Property Passed by Transfer on Death Deed Receive a Step-Up
August 24, 2016 at 3:16pm
[…] that is transferred by transfer on death deed occurs at the donor’s death. Therefore, the beneficiary of such property should get a step-up in […]
October 25, 2016 at 3:20pm
Although the code indicates that the beneficiaries will own the property in equal proportions, can the deed specify an unequal ownership: ie: one beneficiary will own 1/3 and the other will own 2/3?
Also, can the owner include any personal restrictions such as giving one beneficiary the right to lease or sell the property if they cannot agree? Although a will can require property to be sold, I’m not sure if similar language could be added to a deed or if a will could force the sale of property that has been deeded under a transfer on death deed. Thanks.
November 30, 2016 at 4:20pm
No. The transfer on death deed statute specifies that concurrent interest are transferred to the beneficiaries in equal and undivided shares with no rights of survivorship.
Can I Avoid Probate in Texas without a Revocable Trust?
November 10, 2016 at 12:46pm
[…] property conveyed by a Texas transfer on death deed or lady bird deed pass to the intended beneficiary outside of […]
February 16, 2017 at 4:29pm
Can a husband and wife execute the same deed? Or do they need to execute and file 2 separate deeds?
February 17, 2017 at 1:32pm
It is possible for a husband and wife to execute one deed. I recommend that you contact an attorney to assist you.
February 16, 2017 at 10:40pm
Hi if my father files the TODD to his daughter and if he passes is there any taxes she will have to pay?
February 17, 2017 at 1:31pm
The following article may answer your question: Does Property Passed by Transfer on Death Deed Receive a Step-Up in Basis?
A Transfer on Death Deed for your Car --Texas Wills and Trusts Law
February 17, 2017 at 10:39am
[…] Texas Transfer on Death Deed allows owners of real estate to transfer their property to beneficiaries outside the probate […]
April 18, 2017 at 7:11pm
My mother unexpectedly passed away in April of 2016. I’m the only heir left. She had two parcels of land in different counties in Texas. How can I get a deed to those properties in my name?
April 21, 2017 at 9:35am
The following article may answer your questions: What to Do When Someone Dies in Texas .
May 23, 2017 at 1:06pm
If a husband or wife is disabled and cannot physically appear at the County Clerk’s Office to process the Transfer on Death Deed, is there another filing option?
May 30, 2017 at 3:55pm
It is possible to mail legal document, along with the recording fee, to the clerk’s office for recording.
Can an Agent Revoke a Transfer on Death Deed
June 28, 2017 at 4:28pm
[…] Texas Transfer on Death Deed allows homeowners to name a beneficiary who will inherit their property after they […]
July 24, 2017 at 9:14am
Is it better to list my sister as the beneficiary (who is also listed as a guardian in our will) or my child who is a minor? Thank you!
July 24, 2017 at 12:35pm
Neither is a good option. The following article explains: Should I Designate My Children’s Guardian as Beneficiaries of My Life Insurance Policy?
October 16, 2017 at 12:07pm
Your introductory information states “this is good news for many Texans with modest estates whose only probate asset is their home”. I’m a Widower, no children, own multiple acreage parcels with improvements, my homestead,a 2nd home, etc. As long as the TOD’s are filed correctly couldn’t I transfer those parcels to whomever I choose and avoid probate?
October 17, 2017 at 11:11am
January 26, 2018 at 8:03pm
The husband bought the house in Texas before he got married. After 2 years he filed TOD to his daughter. Can the wife go after the house when the husband passes away?
January 31, 2018 at 5:17pm
Property acquired before a marriage and during the marriage by gift, devise or descent is characterized as separate property. When a married person dies without a will leaving children from another marriage, the surviving spouse is entitled to only a life estate in one-third of that property. The remainder is inherited outright by the deceased spouse’s children in equal shares.
That being said, certain constitutional protections are available for surviving spouses in Texas. A surviving spouse is entitled to a life estate in homestead property and cannot be forced to sell her property as long as she occupies and uses it.
January 29, 2018 at 9:11pm
My father would like to sign a Transfer on Death Deed. My sister-in-law is a Notary Public. Can you tell me if she is authorized to notarize the form for us?
January 31, 2018 at 4:54pm
The Texas Secretary of State’s website provides the following guidance:
There is no specific prohibition against notarizing a spouse’s or relative’s signature or notarizing for a spouse’s business. However, notarizations should not be performed by a notary public who is a party to the instrument or financially or beneficially interested in the transaction. The facts in each situation will determine whether the notary’s action was proper.
March 18, 2018 at 11:02pm
If a Transfer on Death Deed is completed, making an adult child the beneficiary by both spouses, and then a divorce occurs, what happens to the TOD?
March 23, 2018 at 9:10am
The transfer on death deed statutes only addresses what happens in the case of a divorce between the homeowner and the beneficiary. It provides that if a marriage between a homeowner and a designated beneficiary is dissolved after the transfer on death deed is recorded, a final judgment of the court dissolving the marriage operates to revoke the transfer on death deed as to that designated beneficiary if notice of the judgment is recorded before the homeonwer’s death in the deed records in the county clerk’s office of the county where the deed is recorded.
June 20, 2018 at 4:36pm
Hi Rania. If there is a Revocable Trustand a Pour Over Will that takes all property not already in the trust and moves it into the Trust after death, and there is a TOD/POD on one property, does the POD/TOD directions execute without regard to the Pour Over Will and ultimately the Trust?
June 26, 2018 at 11:32am
An asset with a POD/TOD designation will not become part of the probate estate.
August 13, 2018 at 2:05pm
My wife and I own a house in Texas, but I can’t find anything in the deed that says whether it is tenants in common or joint tenants. How do I know which it is, and do we have to file two TODDs or can we do just one.
August 14, 2018 at 6:02pm
If the deed does not indicate that title is held with rights of survivorship, then it is held as tenants in common.
I recommend that each spouse execute a transfer on death deed.
August 24, 2018 at 8:51pm
Can a TOD be used by an unmarried individual who only has a 1/4 undivided interest in the property
August 28, 2018 at 9:50am
A transfer on death deed can be used to transfer an individual’s interest in the property.
September 3, 2018 at 4:08pm
Counselor, if a homeowner files a T.O.D.D., can the homeowner later decide to sell?
September 4, 2018 at 6:13pm
September 13, 2018 at 7:34pm
Hi Rania…if a property has a mortgage and it is transferred to my son using the TOD deed can they force a due on sale clause? Can the mortgage company try to get a claim against the estate for that mortgage? Thank you
September 17, 2018 at 12:13pm
The statute specifically provides that a transfer on death deed does not constitute a transfer that triggers a “due on sale” clause or similar clause. It also provides that a beneficiary of a transfer on death deed takes the property subject to any encumbrances.
January 14, 2019 at 12:36am
Hi Rania, thank you for providing the information on your website. It is very helpful. Question: if I execute a transfer on death deed, will my spouse need to obtain a new title insurance?
January 16, 2019 at 11:16am
I’m glad you have found the information helpful. I recommend that you contact the title company for an answer to this question.
February 18, 2019 at 4:11pm
Is Husband and Wife (ie John Doe, and wife, Jane Doe) considered the same as joint tenants with right of survivorship OR is it the same as tenants in common?
February 19, 2019 at 12:51pm
Title is typically held as tenants in common unless a deed specifically indicates that the property is held “with rights of survivorship.”
April 8, 2019 at 3:17pm
Say a grantor is disabled from stroke and has given power of attorney to related beneficiaries who are listed in a transfer on death deed and one of the beneficiaries dies. Does their inheritance automatically transfer to their spouse and heirs or does the grantor or agent need to create a new transfer on death deed?
April 24, 2019 at 4:12pm
The Transfer on Death Deed statute specifically states that an agent acting under a power of attorney cannot create a Transfer on Death Deed.
July 27, 2020 at 12:27am
If a power of attorney cannot make or sign a transfer on death deed and the grantor is physically unable to sign who can sign for her? Can a beneficiary sign it?
July 27, 2020 at 12:42pm
The transfer on death deed statute provides that an agent acting under a power of attorney cannot create a Transfer on Death Deed. A beneficiary does not own the property, and therefore cannot convey the property.
Sometimes powers of attorney grant an agent the power to create a Lady Bird Deed, a different type of deed that transfers property at death. Please consult an attorney in your community to advise you on the best course of action under your circumstances.
October 3, 2019 at 10:48pm
Can the Transfer on Death Dead verbiage be added to a Will?
October 14, 2019 at 10:34am
One of the benefits of a transfer on death deed is that the described real property transfers to the intended beneficiary outside of probate. It is certainly possible to make a specific gift of property in a Will, but the Will would need to go through probate to transfer the property to the intended beneficiary.
December 3, 2019 at 3:20pm
Transfer on death deed upon filing with County clerk will become a public record. Is it mandatory to file it? If not, will the notary suffice? Thanks.
December 3, 2019 at 3:34pm
The Transfer on Death Deed statute specifies that the deed must be recorded before the transferor’s death in the deed records of the county clerk’s office of the county where the real property is located or it will not be effective.
April 29, 2021 at 10:54pm
My father filed a deed on death in Texas and specified me and my three siblings as primary beneficiaries. He has since passed away. The affidavit of death only provides for one beneficiary so how do my siblings and I file the affidavit of death? Can we all list our names on the affidavit? Do we each file a separate affidavit? Is it necessary for only one of us to file an affidavit of death? Thanks very much for your guidance.
April 30, 2021 at 11:50am
Please accept my condolences for your loss. An affidavit is a sworn declaration of the information contained in the affidavit. The Affidavit of Death declares that a homeowner who prepared a transfer on death deed and recorded it in the real property records has died. The affidavit of death does not reflect who the beneficiaries of the property are.
July 6, 2021 at 5:17pm
So my aunt was appointed power of attorney. The day after my mom passed away she went and put her name on the property that my grandpa left her. 2 days later she changes it again by adding her daughter and I’m assuming tried to put my oldest sister’s name on it as well, but didn’t put it on there correctly. This is super illegal correct? Now her daughter has been living her best life there mortgage-free. What shall we do and where should we start?
July 29, 2021 at 10:30am
You posted a comment under the Texas Transfer on Death Deed article; so I am not clear on whether your mother had transferred it to her by transfer on death deed.
If not, a power of attorney expires when the person who granted it dies. At that point, the agent does not have the authority to act.
Please engage an attorney with physical offices in the county where the property is located for assistance with this matter.
June 6, 2022 at 11:28am
My son and I have joint ownership in our home. If I pass, and he is named as heir in my will, do I still need to file a transfer of deed before death for him to own the house outright in his name without probate?
June 6, 2022 at 4:52pm
Yes, unless the deed specifically indicates you own it jointly with rights of survivorship.
October 29, 2023 at 11:14pm
Quick question. Would you as a Texas lawyer write a Texas resident a Will without asking about assets?
October 30, 2023 at 12:57pm
No. I would not.
- Eddison S. Titus
- Geoff Casavant
- Patricia McDade
- Kiran Talluri
- Jacob Scholl
- Business Law
- Estate Planning
- Real Estate Law
- Private Investments
- Civil Litigation
5 Types of Deeds in Texas (and When to Use Them)
Need to transfer ownership of physical property in the Houston, TX area?
Buying and selling real property is a complex process. There are all sorts of legal documents that need to be filed and hoops that need to be jumped through in order for the real estate transaction to be valid and legally binding.
One of those legal documents you need is a deed, and real estate deeds are often confused with the “title” of a property. In actuality, a deed is simply a physical legal document that transfers the title of a property – which is the concept of ownership and rights to the property – from the current owner (or the “grantor”) to the new one.
There are several types of deeds in Texas and we’ll walk you through their definitions and benefits, but it’s crucial to speak with a Houston real estate lawyer about your unique situation before deciding on which deed to use for your property transfer.
#1 General Warranty Deed
The simplest explanation of a general warranty deed is that it offers the most legal protection for the grantee when transferring ownership. That’s because, in this type of deed, the grantor is warranting (or guaranteeing) that they have a legal and equitable title and that there are no other claims to the property out there.
When general warranty deeds are used, if there happen to be title defects realized in the future—such as other legal claims to ownership or liens against the property—the grantor would be responsible for rectifying them.
When Are General Warranty Deeds Used?
A general warranty deed is actually the most commonly used in property ownership transfers in Texas. It’s the type of deed that’s preferred by homebuyers in standard home sales since it prevents the new owner from having to purchase title insurance through a title company.
#2 Special Warranty Deed
While a general warranty deed protects the buyer against all possible title defects, a special warranty deed offers a bit less protection for the grantee.
With this type of Texas deed (also known as a limited warranty deed—the grantor only guarantees that no title issues exist for the time period that they owned the property. They would not be liable for any defects that occurred prior to them taking ownership.
When Are Special Warranty Deeds Used?
In cases where the current owner isn’t comfortable with a general warranty, a special warranty deed can be used. However, buyers using these types of deeds in Texas should purchase title insurance through one of the many title companies in the state.
#3 Quitclaim Deed
The type of deed with the least protection for the grantee is undoubtedly the quitclaim deed. Quitclaim deeds make no guarantees at all regarding existing ownership claims or title defects, and simply allow the grantor’s interest in the property—whatever that may be—to the grantee. Those purchasing a home generally shouldn’t use a quitclaim deed.
When Are Quitclaim Deeds Used?
There are situations where quitclaim deeds are beneficial.
They’re easy to use and file, so they’re often used in situations like:
- Gifting property without money exchanging hands
- Correcting errors on a type of warranty deed
- Simple additions or removals of names from titles
If you’re considering a quitclaim deed, be sure to review your situation with an experienced Houston real estate attorney to ensure you’re protected. Real estate attorneys can examine the current title insurance owner’s policy and even perform a thorough title search to clear any defects that may become issues in the future
#4 Transfer on Death Deed
Transfer on death assets or properties—including transfer on death deeds—are often used during the estate planning process , and have the same goal in mind: To transfer property or assets to the heir when the grantor dies and avoid having to go through probate.
Is it Wise to Use a Transfer on Death Deed in Texas?
Transfer on Death deeds became legal in the Lonestar State in 2015, and there are some drawbacks to this type of deed in Texas law. For example, when the grantor passes away, creditors of the estate have two years to make claims against the property, possibly pulling it back into the probate process .
For those two years, the new property owner won’t be able to purchase title insurance through a title company, which affects their ability to sell the property.
#5 Deed of Trust
According to the Texas property code regarding property deeds, if a mortgage loan is used during the home-buying process, a deed of trust will be needed to protect the lender.
Basically, there are three parties involved in using a deed of trust to transfer real estate:
- The trustor (the new homeowner who’s borrowing)
- The trustee
What Are the Trustee’s Responsibilities in Texas Deeds?
Typically, the trustee in a deed of trust is a title company or some other company fit to fulfill trustee duties. The trustee is responsible for collecting mortgage payments on behalf of the lender and has the ability to begin the foreclosure process should the borrower default on mortgage payments.
Transferring Real Property? Contact a Houston Real Estate Lawyer
Feeling overwhelmed after reading about all the different types of Texas property deeds? Don’t worry. The process is complicated, but there’s help. If you need help navigating the legal waters of your property deed options, contact a Houston real estate lawyer at The Titus Law Firm today.
Eddison S. Titus is the Founder of The Titus Law Firm, a Houston estate planning, business law, and real estate law firm he founded in 2016. He has successfully represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including will and trust creation, probate, real estate transactions, business formation, business and contract disputes, and business succession planning.
Eddison received his Juris Doctor from the Charlotte School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google
" * " indicates required fields
Ask Us a Question
- Probate Administration
- Probate Litigation
- Fiduciary Litigation
- Probate Mediation
- Estate Planning
- Asset Protection
- Probate Guide eBook
- Texas Probate Estate Administration Book
- Harris County
- Fort Bend County
- Galveston County
- Montgomery County
- Brazoria County
Completing a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed
Home » Articles » Completing a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed
A transfer-on-death (TOD) deed, commonly known as a beneficiary deed, is an important tool in Texas estate planning . It allows you to transfer ownership of certain types of property upon your death to someone else without going through the probate process.
The TOD deed has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its simplicity and cost savings. In this blog post, we will discuss what a TOD deed is, the requirements for completing one, and why it’s such an invaluable tool for those who want to make sure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their death.
What Are the Requirements of a Transfer-on-Death Deed?
The deed must be signed and dated by the owner of the property and must be witnessed by two people who are not related to the owner or the person to whom the property is being transferred. Additionally, it must be notarized by a notary public.
The deed must be filed with the county clerk in the county where the property is located, within 30 days of the owner’s death. If the deed is not filed within this time frame, it is void and the property will pass to the owner’s heirs according to Texas probate law .
Restrictions of a Transfer-on-Death Deed
Once filed, the deed becomes a legal document and cannot be revoked by the owner. However, if the owner sells or conveys the property before their death, then the deed is no longer valid and ownership of the property will pass to whomever they conveyed it to.
The person named as recipient in a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed does not have any rights to the property while the owner is alive. If you are named as a recipient in someone’s Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed, make sure that you understand what this means and that you are comfortable with it before agreeing to it.
How to Complete a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed
To complete a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed, follow these steps:
1. Fill out the deed. Include the following information:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the person or entity you are transferring the property to (the “beneficiary”)
- A description of the property you are transferring
- The date of the deed
2. Sign the deed in front of a notary public.
3. Give the deed to the beneficiary. You do not need to file it with the county clerk’s office.
4. Upon your death, the beneficiary must provide proof of your death and file the deed with the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located.
Once the deed is filed, ownership of the property transfers to the beneficiary. The deed must be recorded with the county clerk in order for the transfer of ownership to be effective upon the owner’s death. If the property is subject to a mortgage or other lien, that debt must be paid off before the beneficiary can take ownership of the property free and clear.
What Property Can Be Transferred with a Transfer-on-Death Deed?
The property conveyed via a TODD can be either residential or commercial real estate, including but not limited to:
- Single family homes
- Vacant land
- Rental property
Special Rules for Co-Owned Property in Texas
When two or more people own property together in Texas, there are certain rules that apply to the transfer of ownership upon the death of one of the owners. These rules are designed to protect the surviving owner or owners from having to go through a lengthy and expensive probate process in order to retain ownership of the property.
In order for a Transfer-on-Death Deed to be valid in Texas, it must meet all of the following requirements:
1. The deed must be in writing and signed by the owner or owners of the property.
2. The deed must be notarized by a licensed notary public.
3. The deed must be filed with the county clerk where the property is located.
4. The deed must contain the legal description of the property as well as the names and addresses of the transferee or transferees.
5. The deed must state that it is revocable at any time by the owner or owners prior to their death.
If you have any questions about whether a Transfer-on-Death Deed is right for your situation, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in your area.
How to Name Beneficiaries on a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed
If you own a home in Texas and want to name a beneficiary who will receive the property upon your death, you can do so by completing a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed.
To complete a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed, you will need the following information:
- Your full name and address
- The full name and address of the person you are naming as your beneficiary
- Your signature
Once you have gathered this information, you can fill out the Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed form. This form is available online from the Texas Comptroller’s office. Once you have completed the form, you will need to have it notarized.
After the deed has been notarized, it should be recorded with the county clerk where the property is located. You will need to provide the clerk with a copy of the deed, as well as any recording fees that may be required. Once the deed has been recorded, it is effective immediately and does not need to be filed with your last will and testament.
How to Revoke or Cancel a Transfer-on-Death Deed
If you change your mind after completing a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed, you can revoke or cancel the deed. To do so, you must notify the beneficiary in writing that you are revoking or cancelling the deed. You must also record a revocation or cancellation of the deed with the county clerk’s office where the original deed was recorded.
Pros and Cons of Using a Transfer-on-Death Deed
TOD deeds are an easy and inexpensive way to avoid probate, but there are some potential drawbacks to consider before using one.
1. Avoid Probate: When you use a TOD deed, your property will transfer to your beneficiary outside of probate, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
2. Flexibility: You can change the beneficiary of your TOD deed at any time prior to your death, simply by completing a new deed with the updated information.
3. Control: With a TOD deed, you retain control of your property during your lifetime. You can sell or mortgage the property as you see fit, and even revoke the deed entirely if you change your mind about using one.
1. Limited Scope: Not all types of property can be transferred using a TOD deed – only certain types of real property, such as land or a house. Personal property, such as cars or furniture, cannot be transferred using this method.
2. Possible challenges: If your beneficiaries are not in agreement about who should receive the property after your death, they may challenge the validity of the TOD deed in court. This could delay or even prevent the transfer of ownership from taking place
3. Possible tax implications: Depending on the value of your property, your beneficiary may be responsible for paying inheritance or estate taxes, which could reduce the amount they receive.
Completing a Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed is an easy way to ensure that your property will be passed on to your loved ones without the hassle of probate. While there are certain legal requirements, such as having two witnesses sign the deed and filing it with the county clerk’s office, none of these steps should take much time or money and should not deter you from taking advantage of this simple estate planning tool . With just a few simple steps, you can make sure that your legacy will live on in all those whom you love and cherish.
Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help?
When a person dies, their assets are generally transferred to their beneficiaries through probate. Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after they die. If the deceased person had a valid will, the probate court will appoint an executor to carry out the instructions in the will. If the deceased person did not have a will, the probate court will appoint an administrator to distribute the assets according to state law.
The probate process can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if there is disagreement among the beneficiaries about how the assets should be divided. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the probate process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Our Houston Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with disputes between heirs. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation .
The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney . We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.
Don't miss out, get a copy today!
Joint Account Alone Does not Disqualify Executor in Texas Probate
Examining the Finality of Probate Court Orders in Texas
Does Filing a Motion Count as a Will Contest in Texas?
- January 2024
- November 2023
- October 2023
- September 2023
- August 2023
- February 2023
- January 2023
- December 2022
- November 2022
- October 2022
- September 2022
- August 2022
- November 2021
- September 2021
- February 2021
- September 2020
- August 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- February 2017
- August 2013
Your initial consultation with KREIG LLC is free with no hassles and no obligations. So schedule now.
No thanks, I’m not interested!
Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM
How Do You Transfer a Deed After Death in Texas
A deceased home owner’s property is often referred to as “heir property”. In order to transfer a deed after the death of an owner in Texas, the deceased property owner’s name must be removed from the house title and the new owners of the property need to be identified.
Note: A Deed is the document that allows a property transfer to take place. Title is the legal right of ownership to the house or property.
Good to know: A deed is a transfer of property between living people. If the property owner is deceased, he or she can no longer sign the deed. In that case, you need something different such as an Affidavit of Heirship , a probated Will or a court order determining heirship.
First the deceased owner’s name must be removed from the record ownership of the house (the title).
Good to know: The person whose name a property title is in is referred to as the “record owner”. This is the last person the property records show to be the owner of the property. This person may be alive or deceased.
Once the deceased owner’s name is removed from the title, the house can be transferred or sold with a property deed.
These two things may be done at the same time. However, if one is done first, it must be the removal of the name from the house title.
How to Transfer a Property Deed From a Deceased Relative
When you need to transfer a property deed from a deceased relative, the first thing that should be determined is whether the deceased owner had a Last Will and Testament stating his or her wishes.
In most cases, the new owners are the heirs of the deceased record owner. Generally, the heirs are the surviving spouse or the children of the deceased.
Good to know : Beware that a properly prepared and probated Last Will and Testament can change this heirship.
If there is a properly prepared and probated Will, the property of the deceased person passes to the person or persons named in the Will.
This person is generally known as the “devisee ” of the property. A devisee can be anyone. A devisee does not have to be an heir. Nor does a devisee have to be a child or relative of the deceased owner. For example, it can be a charity, a church or a friend of the deceased owner.
Note: Technically, any person can be a devisee. This is how you “disinherit” a child or other relative. A Will that names someone else to receive your property will disinherit your heirs.
Transfer of Property After Death With a Will
If the property owner DID have a valid Will when he or she passed, there may be two options for transferring property after death:
One option may be to probate the Will. However, probate is expensive. The cost to probate a Will could include attorney’s fees, court costs, executor’s fees, possible miscellaneous accounting fees. These fees may add up to around $3,000 to $5,000.
Alternatively, if the Will leaves the house to the deceased heir(s), the heir(s) may wish to use an Affidavit of Heirship to establish their heirship instead of going through the cost of probate. The Affidavit of Heirship is a sworn statement that identifies the heirs of the deceased.
Good to know: After the Affidavit is created, the document should be signed by an heir and two witnesses who have extensive knowledge of the family history and who knew the deceased person at least 10 years. It must be signed in front of a notary. Once the Affidavit has been signed and notarized, it should be recorded in the deed records in the county where the property is located.
The property will be titled in the name of the heir(s) after the Affidavit has been recorded. Subsequently, the property may be sold or transferred if the heir(s) chooses to do so. A property deed will be needed to transfer or sell the property.
Transfer a Property Deed After Death Without a Will
On the other hand, if the property owner died WITHOUT a Will, it is a good idea to check the deed records to see if the deceased owner had one of the estate planning deeds recorded. For example, the owner may have had a Life Estate Deed , or a Transfer on Death Deed prepared and recorded in the deed records. Or, in the case of joint property owners, the deceased may have a Survivorship Agreement which would automatically transfer the property to the surviving owner.
If there is no Will, and no estate planning deeds are found in the county deed records, the property cannot be sold or transferred until the deceased property owners name is removed from the house title . In order to do that, the heirs of the deceased must be identified.
By Texas law, all property owned by the deceased passes to his or her heirs upon their death unless there is a Will or other estate plan in place.
Good to know: Generally, the heirs are the children (descendants) of the deceased. If the deceased was married AND the spouse is the mother or father of the child or ALL of the children, the spouse is the heir. If there are no children, the parents of the deceased are the heirs. If there are no parents, the siblings or the siblings children are the heirs. In rare cases, if there are no heirs, the state of Texas becomes the owner of the property.
A helpful chart which further explains Texas Descent and Distribution can be found here: https://www.traviscountytx.gov/images/probate/Docs/DnD_diagrams.pdf
No matter who the heirs are, heirship must be established and recorded in the deed records before the house may be sold or transferred. An Affidavit of Heirship is used for this purpose .
Does an Affidavit of Heirship Transfer Title
The Affidavit of Heirship alone does not transfer the title of a house. Also, before a property deed transfer can be done, the Affidavit must be properly signed, notarized and recorded.
Once the Affidavit of Heirship is recorded in the deed records, the deceased’s name will be removed from the property title. At this point, the heirs will be the owners of the house and their name will be on the property title. Then they may sell or transfer the property if they wish. To do this, a property deed will be needed.
Note: When the Affidavit has been recorded, the property tax records will be updated to reflect the heir(s) as the new owner. Going forward, the heir(s) will pay the property taxes in their name. Furthermore, if an heir lives in the property, they should be eligible for homestead and other tax exemptions.
How to Transfer Ownership of a House
In most cases, the property deed used to transfer ownership of a house will be a General Warranty deed. The deed will state the name of the current property owner (the current owner will now be the heir), the name of the new owner, and the address of the property to be transferred. It must be signed in front of a notary.
The deed can be recorded same day in many cases if it is taken to the county records office in person . Otherwise, it can be mailed to the county records office along with the filing fee of usually $15 – $40 depending on the county.
Keep in mind, most county records offices will not take a personal check. Also, the county clerk will not file any document that has not been signed.
Affidavit of death in texas, general warranty deed vs special warranty deed, how to transfer a house deed to a family member in texas, removing a name from a deed after divorce in texas, texas deed of trust, deed of trust to secure assumption in texas.
Understanding the Pros and Cons of Executing a Transfer on Death Deed in Texas
November 3, 2023
When planning for the future and the eventual transfer of your property, it's crucial to understand all the tools at your disposal under Texas law. One such tool is the Transfer on Death Deed (TODD), governed by Texas Estates Code Section 114.051. As a legal document, a TODD allows property owners to pass on their real estate to a beneficiary without the need for a will or probate. In this article, our seasoned Transfer on Death Deed lawyers in Texas will explore the pros and cons of executing a TODD, ensuring you make informed decisions about your estate planning.
What is a Transfer on Death Deed in Texas?
A Transfer on Death Deed is a legal document that allows individuals to name a beneficiary who will receive their property upon their death, without going through probate. This deed is revocable and does not take effect until the death of the owner, offering a streamlined approach to transferring property. Under Texas Estates Code Section 114.051 , the deed must be recorded before the death of the owner in the county where the property is located to be effective.
Pros of a Transfer on Death Deed:
1. Avoids Probate: One of the primary benefits of a TODD is that it allows the property to bypass the often lengthy and costly probate process, ensuring a quicker transfer to the beneficiary.
2. Retains Control: Until your passing, you retain full control over the property. You can sell, lease, or mortgage the property as you see fit without the beneficiary's consent.
3. Flexibility: If your circumstances change, you can revoke or amend the TODD without needing the beneficiary's agreement.
4. Simplicity: Executing a TODD is relatively straightforward and does not require the complex processes involved in creating and maintaining a trust.
5. Cost-Effective: By avoiding probate, you can potentially save significant money on court fees and legal costs.
Cons of a Transfer on Death Deed:
1. May Not Avoid Legal Challenges: Beneficiaries of the TODD or omitted heirs may still contest the deed, leading to legal complications.
2. No Medicaid Eligibility Protection: A TODD does not protect the property from being counted for Medicaid eligibility, which might affect long-term care planning (if this applies to you, then see our other article on how to plan for bypassing Medicaid Estate Recovery Program claims through a Ladybird Deed by Clicking Here );
3. No Contingencies: Unlike a will, a TODD does not allow for contingent beneficiaries if the primary beneficiary predeceases the owner.
4. Potential Family Conflicts: If not all family members or heirs are included as beneficiaries, it could lead to disputes and possible litigation.
5. Debts and Liens: The property transferred via a TODD is still subject to debts and liens against the estate, which may burden the beneficiary.
Executing a Transfer on Death Deed in Texas can be a beneficial estate planning tool, but it's not without its potential drawbacks. Considering the nuances of Texas Estates Code Section 114.051, it's wise to consult with a knowledgeable Transfer on Death Deed lawyer who can offer personalized advice and ensure that your estate plan aligns with your wishes and legal requirements.
For comprehensive legal guidance and to explore whether a TODD is right for your estate plan, contact our experienced Texas probate attorney today. We are committed to navigating you through the complexities of estate planning with the dedication and expertise you deserve. Additionally, for comprehensive help with your complete estate plan, a TODD is the chief component of our Probate Avoidance Package , which addresses all your needs before and upon death. Please watch our video for a full estate planning consultation that includes prices at the end -- you can watch that video by Clicking Here as well.
Are you considering a Transfer on Death Deed for your property in Texas? Reach out to our expert Transfer on Death Deed lawyers for a consultation and secure your legacy with confidence. Just click "Contact Us" anywhere you see it on this page and we will be thrilled to hear from you :)
Browse by topic
Latest posts, navigating mental health care and legal pathways in harris county: a guide for families and individuals.
Understanding Your Right to a Jury Trial in Contested Guardianship Cases in Houston, Texas
Understanding Probate Court in Texas: Insight from an Experienced Probate Lawyer
Why a Flat Fee Probate Attorney in Houston is a Game-Changer
Understanding the Role of a Texas Life Insurance Lawyer in Interpleader Disputes
The Go-To Texas Probate Lawyer: Comprehensive Legal Solutions for Probate Matters in Houston and Beyond
The Crucial Role of Asset Characterization in Probating a Decedent's Estate
Bypassing Medicaid Estate Recovery Program Claims through a Ladybird Deed in Texas
Understanding Executor Compensation Limits: A Deep Dive into Texas Estates Code Section 352.002
Understanding Survivorship Agreements in Texas Estates Code 112.051: Essential Insights for Protecting Real Estate Ownership
Why Estate Planning is Crucial for College Students: Safeguarding Their Future Today
Differences Between Texas Transfer-on-Death Deed and Ladybird Deed
Why You Should Never Designate Your Minor Child as a Beneficiary of ANYTHING!
What is a Lady Bird Deed in Texas?
Amazon Truck Crash | Houston | 2 Fatalities
What is a Living Will?
What is Interpleader
What is a Will?
Can I write my own handwritten Last Will & Testament?
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Car Wreck?
How Much Time Do I Have to File for Probate?
How Long Do I Have to File for Probate in Texas?
After a Car Wreck, Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company Until You...
How do I transfer title for a deceased family member’s house?
Estate Planning Before Vacation
Disputes over proceeds from life insurance, 401(k)s, and IRAs
GET A CASE EVALUATION
Schedule your consultation today
Get in touch
We're here to help you* *if you are a marketer just stop right here and save yourself some time...
- Manage Account
- Voter Guide
- Solar Eclipse
- Bleeding Out
- Things to Do
- Public Notices
- Help Center
First-time homeowner? Here’s everything you need to know when moving in
From turning on the utilities and finding your trash pickup schedule to making sure your new home is safe and secure, these are the essentials to keep in mind..
By Mary Grace Granados
1:21 PM on Feb 8, 2024 CST
Congrats on your new home! You’ve likely just spent more money on this single purchase than you’ve ever spent before, so it’s understandable that you’d want to know as much as you can to be prepared for the journey ahead. As you gear up to move in, arm yourself with these tips to ensure a smooth transition to your new role as a homeowner and protect your investment for years to come.
Turn on the lights (and the water, gas and internet, too)
Schedule your utilities ahead of time to turn on the day you plan to move in so you have a working HVAC and lights as you unpack your belongings in your new home. In some instances, if you already have an electricity provider or you’re moving to a new place within the same city, you may be able to seamlessly transfer your existing utility services to your new address.
Shop for an electricity provider at PowertoChoose , a website provided by the Public Utility Commission of Texas to help people compare plans from different providers. Once you’ve selected one, you can set up service through the company’s website or over the phone.
Related: A no-stress, hassle-free guide to buying furniture online
Sign up for the Abode newsletter for a weekly roundup of the latest home, design and real estate stories.
Visit your city’s website to set up an account with the water utilities department. Many cities in D-FW have online portals where you can set up or transfer service and pay your bills. Atmos Energy provides gas to Dallas-Fort Worth. Visit the company’s website to set up or transfer service from your existing account.
For other utilities, like your phone lines or internet, work directly with your provider to schedule installation and setup.
Review your coverage
“You better read your insurance policy,” says Christy Berry, a real estate broker with Compass. She recommends people review their policies every year. Berry, who lost her own home when a tornado hit in 2019, says it’s important to know details like what happens in the event of a freeze and whether or not your policy covers a hotel stay if there’s an extended issue.
The last thing you want to deal with when you’ve purchased a new home is repairing or replacing a major appliance. Some home sellers may offer a home warranty, a type of service contract that covers systems and appliances in a home for a set period of time, as an incentive for buyers. If a home warranty was provided for in your contract, now’s the time to review what is covered and to what extent.
If you do not have a home warranty but are considering one, assess the costs and consider whether your home insurance policy covers some of the same things. Coverage varies by provider and plan.
Change your address
Update your address with the U.S. Postal Service, online or in person, and change your address on your Texas ID card, too. The state requires that you update the address on your ID card within 30 days of moving. Make these changes a priority because you’ll need updated identification for other decisions down the line, like a homestead exemption.
While you’re at it, change your address at work, the bank, the doctor’s office and any other important institutions.
Get to know your property
Berry recommends reviewing your property survey to determine where essential utilities, such as the water main, are located. If your electrical panel is outside, she notes that it’s worthwhile to put a lock on it to prevent someone from turning off your electricity when trying to break into your house. While the breakers in your electricity box should be labeled, make sure you know what they correspond to so you can quickly access the correct switch in a moment of need.
Berry also recommends familiarizing yourself with the boundaries of your property by looking at the survey. If your yard has a fence, you’ll want to know whether the fence is within your property lines or not (the same goes for your neighbors’ fences).
If you have renovation plans, Berry says it’s best to get started on this as early as possible. “If you don’t do them at the beginning, you aren’t going to do them.” Life gets in the way, she says, and it’s difficult to live in a home while undergoing renovations.
Determine your trash days (and order a new trash can if you need it)
With all of those moving boxes, you’ll want to know your weekly trash and bulk trash collection schedules. Your city’s website should have a map or search tool so you can look up trash and recycling pickup days based on your address. If your new home doesn’t have trash bins or they’re damaged, you can request repair or replacements through the same city website.
Take care of home security
Yes, you should change the locks of your new home, but think about timing. If you plan to have work done on the house prior to your move-in date — like painting, floor refinishing or repairs — Berry recommends waiting to change the locks until all of the work is complete. This way, you won’t have to worry about the safety of leaving keys with contractors and will only have to change the locks once.
If your home came with an alarm system already installed, make sure you know where all of the keypads are located and how the system functions if you plan to use it. Many homeowners aren’t aware that if their alarm system is set up to provide a police response, a specific permit is required through the city. So whether you are using an existing system or plan on installing a new one, be sure to visit your city or county’s website to register for a permit and pay any associated fees (typically $50 yearly for a residence).
Claim a homestead exemption
What exactly is a homestead exemption? Simply, it’s an exemption available to any homeowner in Texas that can save you thousands of dollars on property taxes each year by removing part of the value of your home from taxation.
Apply for a residence homestead exemption as soon as your local appraisal district registers your deed, Berry says. You qualify for a homestead exemption if your new home is your primary residence, you own the home and you are not claiming a homestead exemption on another property.
Individual homeowners should fill out applications separately but married couples only need to fill out one application. Visit your county’s appraisal district website to find application information. You will need a valid driver’s license or Texas ID to complete the application and the address on the ID must match the homestead address.
Establish good homeowner habits
Set yourself up for success by establishing good habits as you embark on your homeownership journey. Store a spare key in a safe place and leave an extra with a trusted family member or friend. Make sure you have basic tools like a water main key, so you can turn off the water in the event of an emergency, and a flashlight. Keep fire extinguishers in the house and educate yourself on how to use and maintain them safely. Make sure fences, gates and outdoor lights are all in working order.
Set a schedule for regular home maintenance tasks. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested on a monthly basis. HVAC filters in your home should be replaced every three months and the entire system should be serviced annually. Water heaters should be flushed once or twice a year. Have your dryer vent cleaned each year to prevent a fire hazard. If your home has a sump pump, test it to make sure that it’s functioning. Follow the guidance of experts like electricians and plumbers for your specific appliances and systems.
Make sure to store essential home files like any insurance policies and warranties, closing documents, your property survey, home inspection and mortgage documents in a safe place. Consider making digital copies to have a backup in case the originals are damaged or lost.
Finally, once you’ve set up all of your utilities, set your bills on autopay so that you never miss a deadline.
Meet your neighbors
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in a high rise or if you’re in a regular house, I just think you should meet your neighbors,” Berry says. There are lots of great reasons to get to know your neighborhood and the community. Residents may have service provider recommendations or other helpful information, plus, you could make a lifelong friend. Visit neighborhood association websites to learn about local events and to find additional resources.
Know who to call
Homeownership comes with plenty of surprises and, at times, you may need the help of an expert. Keep a list with the numbers of your utilities providers, insurance agent, city services, plumbers, electricians, etc. for easy reference.
Report non-emergency issues like noise complaints, animal services or code violations through your city’s website. If you prefer to report issues over the phone, many cities provide lists of relevant numbers on their websites. In Dallas, you can dial 311.
Mary Grace Granados
Diamonds, gold and ... Creed? What might the Texas Rangers’ World Series rings look like?
Hidden cameras aim to expose dei efforts in texas colleges despite ban, dallas mayor eric johnson says he regrets other people being ‘dragged’ into divorce, 5 things to know about the dallas megachurch seeking injunction against developer, fight on southwest airlines flight draws attention to unruly passengers and consequences.
Thieves steal $86,000 worth of property, including horses and cement mixer, in Lynn Co.
LYNN COUNTY, Texas (KCBD) - Law enforcement in Lynn County announced the arrest of two suspected thieves Wednesday morning.
Two men from Slaton, 23-year-old Dylan Scott Tilley and 22-year-old Juan Carlos Lopez, are behind bars, accused of stealing about $86,000 worth of property.
On Feb. 5, a cement mixer was stolen from a property near Tahoka and reported to the Lynn County Sheriff’s Office. About four hours later, another person called Lynn County law enforcement stating four horses, a stock trailer, a hay hauler and a 16-foot utility trailer had been stolen. The two thefts happened in the same area.
Investigators with the sheriff’s office found leads on social media, leading to two possible suspects and two related properties in Slaton. Authorities said the missing horses and livestock trailer were recovered within hours of the reported theft.
Over then following 10 days, investigators were able to track down another related property in Tahoka. Here, they found additional stolen property.
Tilley and Lopez were identified as the only suspects in the “theft ring.” Additional charges may be filed as the investigation continues.
Throughout the operation, a total of four horse, six trailers, a cement mixer, a Polaris Ranger UTV, a Yamaha 4-wheeler ATV and various pieces of hunting gear were recovered.
The following law enforcement agencies were involved in this theft investigation:
- Lynn County Sheriff’s Office
- Slaton Police Department
- Dickens County Sheriff’s Office
- Lubbock Police Department
- Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office
- Motley County Sheriff’s Office
- South Plains Auto Theft Task Force - Lubbock
- Tahoka Police Department
- Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Copyright 2024 KCBD. All rights reserved.
At least 1 dead, 21 injured including minors in shooting following Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade
New emails reveal City of Levelland paid grain company $15,000 to remove infested hulls
LPD searching for suspect involved in stabbing
Amber Alert issued for missing 12-year-old in Texas
KCBD News at 10
DPS: 1 dead after crash in Castro County
Denver City High School students become Docs for a Day
Black History Month: Lubbock business owner encouraging others to follow their dreams
Federal judge rejects pipeline company's attempt to condemn land in the RGV before talking to property owners
A federal judge in Brownsville denied a pipeline company’s request to condemn and transfer ownership of land that its pipeline project would run through, saying the action was “premature.”
First reported by Law360 , Enbridge, the Canadian energy company which owns a 137-mile-long Rio Bravo Pipeline (RBP) project in the Port of Brownsville, filed the suit last year after not being able to contact the owners of 5 acres the pipeline would run across. The 5-acre property is owned by Carlos F. Alfonso and Margot Villa, according to the lawsuit.
To circumvent not being able to contact the property owners, Enbridge filed a suit claiming eminent domain of the land under the Natural Gas Act and asked to condemn the property and transfer ownership to the company. Enbridge claimed not accessing the land to conduct the several surveys the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires would harm the project.
Judge Rolando Olvera denied the claim, saying Enbridge “has not shown it will be immediately and irreparably harmed” if it did not access the property.
As part of the approval, FERC is requiring Enbridge complete civil, environmental, archaeological and cultural surveys 45 days before the company builds the pipeline. RBP is cleared to start construction in September 2025 with a service deadline of November 22, 2026, according to the lawsuit. RBP is funneling all of the gas the Rio Grande LNG plant is exporting.
Olvera wrote that Enbridge did not prove there wasn’t enough time to notify the owners before seeking to condemn the property through the courts. The judge noted that Enbridge posted condemnation notices in the Brownsville Herald last November as an example. Olvera also writes that the court was not “persuaded” in Enbridge citing the Natural Gas Act as authority to access the land.
The RBP is meant to supply gas to the Rio Grande LNG plant, running from Agua Dulce, Texas, to the Port of Brownsville. Enbridge, a part owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, received federal approval to build the pipeline in 2019.
FERC approved the pipeline again last year after a D.C. Circuit court ruled the agency did not adequately measure the climate justice impacts of RBP and Rio Grande LNG on surrounding communities. The second approval was criticized as not taking the court’s ruling seriously, particularly from within FERC itself.
On Feb. 2, the City of Port Isabel, the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, the Sierra Club and Vecinos para el Bienestar de la Comunidad Costera, the same groups which sued FERC’s first approval of the gas projects, filed a motion to stop construction of the Rio Bravo Pipeline and the Rio Grande LNG plant until a lawsuit by the same groups is ruled on.
That lawsuit challenges FERC’s reapproval of the RBP and Rio Grande LNG projects, which the groups says doesn’t factor in the greenhouse gasses the projects would emit, the demographics of the communities who would be affected by those emissions and whether the projects are really in the public’s interest. FERC denied the groups’ request to stop construction at Rio Grande LNG when they asked the regulator in January.
Rio Grande LNG began clearing the nearly 800-acre project site last year after getting the funds necessary to do so. The project is not cleared to construct the facilities that will convert the pipeline-fed gas to liquid until it finishes its cost sharing and emergency response plans.