If you are planning to use a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed to leave your estate under someone else in Texas, it is critical to prepare a deed that matches the requirements of the state. If yours is not formatted in the right way, doesn’t contain the right language or is not notarized correctly, then it will be regarded null and void. It’s often recommended to work with a Texas transfer-on-death attorney because they are well versed with the state laws and understand everything that goes into deed preparation. A lawyer removes the guesswork and the hard work out of the process.
How transfer-on-death works
If you don’t want your property to go through the probate process, then it would be a good idea to look into TOD. TOD lets you choose a beneficiary who will get your property, but only when you are no longer in this world. The beneficiary has no right to your estate while you are alive. If you own your property jointly, TOD deed doesn’t apply until you and the other owner are dead. The Texas law allows you to name alternative beneficiaries too, just in case your beneficiary of choice is not around or refuses to receive it.
Making transfer-on-death legal
To make your TOD legal, you’ll have to take the deed to the local county records office where your estate is located. And since different localities have different rules, it’s essential to ensure that you adhere to your county recorder’s instructions. Note that you can revoke your transfer-on-death deed whenever you feel like it – by going to your local county records and requesting for a revocation form or by creating a new TOD that replaces the original. Additionally, you should know that the deed will include liens, mortgages and any other responsibilities.
Once you die, the ownership transfers immediately – and automatically – to the person, you named in the deed. But there will be some paperwork to get the estate into the name of the beneficiary. Sometimes, the recipient will have to record an affidavit and a copy of the death certificate.
Naming the beneficiary
Your beneficiary could be anyone you’d love to inherit the property once you pass on – it could be an individual, a group of people or an organization, like a favorite charity. Whoever you choose as a beneficiary is referred to as the “grantee-beneficiary”. A “successor grantee-beneficiary is the name of your alternate recipient.
Be sure to transfer the exact property description details from your current deed, and double check to ensure nothing is left out. Once you are done, sign the deed and file it in the local public records before your death.
A TOD deed is one of the easiest ways to transfer estate. If you live in Texas or any other state that supports TOD, it is a smart idea to include it in your property plan. If you aren’t sure that transfer-on-death is the right tool for you, it’s best to talk with an experienced lawyer who will offer legal guidance and advice.