(+/-) Texas Deed Forms
The Texas Quitclaim Deed Form is used to transfer Texas real estate in circumstances where the current owner (transferor) does not want to make any warranties or representations that the transferor owns the property. Quitclaim deeds are often used for transfers to family members or other uncompensated transfers. But even in this context, the Texas Deed Without Warranty is often the better choice.
Like a traditional Life Estate Deed, the Texas Lady Bird Deed Form is used to transfer property at a person’s death while allowing the person to continue to use the property during his or her lifetime. But unlike a traditional Life Estate Deed, the current owner (transferor) retains key power over the property. Specifically, the current owner can deal with the property (e.g., sell the property and spend the proceeds) or change his or her mind. These important features make Texas Lady Bird deeds popular estate planning options for individuals who want to avoid probate or protect assets from going to the government at their death.
The Texas Transfer-On-Death Deed Form is another option for creating a transfer that only becomes effective after a person’s death. Texas Transfer-On-Death Deeds are used to avoid probate and protect the property from government recovery. The Texas Transfer-On-Death Deed is a relatively recent addition to Texas law.
The Texas Warranty Deed Form is used to transfer property when the current owner (transferor) will make at least some guarantee that he or she has title to the property. Texas Warranty Deeds can be either General Warranty Deeds or Special Warranty Deeds.
- A General Warranty Deed Form guarantees that the transferor has good title. This guarantee covers the time that the transferor owned the property and all issues that may have arisen before the transferor acquired the property.
- A Special Warranty Deed Form also gaurantees that the transferor has good title, but he warranty does not extend to issues that may have arisen before the transferor acquired the property. The transferor’s warranty only covers the period when the transferor owned the property.
(+/-) Texas Knowledge Base
Given the choice, most people would prefer to avoid the expense, hassle, and delay associated with Texas probate. Joint Tenancies with Right of Survivorship, Transfer-On-Death Deeds, Lady Bird Deeds, and traditional Life Estate Deeds can be used to avoid Texas probate of real estate at a person’s death.
If a property owner needs to qualify for Medicaid assistance, certain transfers could trigger disqualification. And on the owner’s death, the Texas Medicaid Estate Recovery Program allows the government to make claims to assets previously held by a Medicaid recipient. In many cases, both of these negative effects can be avoided with proper planning. In the real estate context, the use of Transfer-On-Death Deeds, Lady Bird Deeds, and traditional Life Estate Deeds can often provide planning opportunties.
There are several ways in which multiple owners can hold title to Texas real estate. Options include community property (with or without right of survivorship), joint tenancy with right of survivorship, and tenancy in common. Each of these different forms of ownership has important legal consequences and requires special consideration in the deed preparation process.
Texas community property law treats most property acquired during the marriage as belonging to both spouses, even if only one spouse is listed on the deed to the property. The characterization of community and separate property can have important legal consequences to both the owners and third parties.
The way that property is titled can have important consequences on the death of one of the owners. If the owners intend for property to pass to the surviving owners upon the death of one of the owners, it is important that the property be titled with right of survivorship. Although this can be done with proper planning, titling property with rights of survivorship is tricky in Texas and requires the use of Survivorship Agreements. Agreements can also be used to change the character of property from community to separate property or from separate to community property.
Texas provides property tax exemptions and favorable asset protection benefits for property that qualifies as Texas homestead. Texas law also restricts a person’s ability to deal with Texas homestead without the his or her spouse’s consent.