One of the saddest things I have run across in HLE is properties where the owner dies, unexpectedly, and there is no will and no line of heirship established and recorded. Family members may move into the property, but they never have the advantage of owning it. We have several properties like this. You can use an Affidavit of Heirship to declare what the family believes to be the heirs of the property, but many real estate and title companies will not recognize these as title documents until a 5 year period has passed. And, as a buyer, you may want to ask a lot of questions of the seller when this is their only document proving ownership.
In 2015, the Texas legislature passed a law that allows you to use a ‘Transfer on Death Deed‘ to name who you want to own your property when you die. I like this idea because I personally use beneficiary designations on all of my personal property. These designations over-ride anything that might be put in a will and can be changed quickly if new children or grandchildren enter into the picture. A Transfer on Death deed is like naming a ‘beneficiary’ to your real estate property. When you die, the person(s) you name as heirs do not have to go through a probate process to acquire ownership. They can simply use that document, and a follow-up filing, and take ownership. You can read the Texas Statute behind it by –> Clicking Here.
By using a Transfer On Death deed, you can convey clear title (less any mortgage, liens, etc.) to your property, upon your death, by completing a simple to use form, signing it in front of a notary, and filing it in the deed records office in the county where your property is located for a low cost filing fee. Here is a link to a ‘kit’, with instructions and a form that will help you to do one of your own –> Click Here. Simply download that onto your computer, read the instructions and follow them to fill out the form, then head to the county clerk’s office, where the property resides, and file it.
If you have a Transfer on Death deed and you want to cancel it to change ‘beneficiaries’, here are the instructions and forms –> Click Here. For those named as heirs, to finalize the transfer of the property and get a Warranty Deed of their own, on the death of the original owner named, –> Click Here.