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How do I transfer title for a deceased family member’s house?

How do I transfer title for a deceased family member’s house?


Troy Moore

November 26, 2019

August 25, 2023

How do I transfer title for a deceased family member’s house?

Here Is How To Transfer a Title From a Deceased Family Member

The death of a family member is distressing…


…but transferring a title from the deceased doesn’t have to be.

This is just an example of how most probates begin in my office. My client tries to sell mom or dad’s house, and they have a real estate agent, a buyer, and an agreed-upon contract.

But then, here comes the Title Company telling my client how they need to do probate.

And this is where a Cypress, Tomball, and Northwest Houston real estate lawyer comes in to solve your problems. Following the probate law is necessary to clear the house title and must be done in some way before selling the house.

Most people think it is as easy as only getting a Deed to transfer the house of their deceased family member, but think again.

Well, fear not-

The Houston-based probate real estate attorney of The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, will guide you from the beginning up to the end! We will provide high-quality legal representation and detail-oriented service for you and your family!

Here’s how:

One of the most crucial tasks during real estate transactions involving a deceased person is clearing the title from the deceased’s property and transferring it to the new property owner. Indeed, in Houston, TX, real estate can be passed to you or to any of your siblings from your deceased parents under a Will or through laws for who gets the property if the person dies without a Will. There are legal matters that must be taken care of first prior to the transfer of clear title. That is where probate comes into play.

If the property you deal with includes real estate, it’s probably the most valuable asset in the property portfolio. The process may confuse and overwhelm you at first, but with the right hands, an experienced probate real estate attorney will see you through the challenges you face.

So how do you proceed throughout the probate real estate transactions?

Is probate necessary? Can you transfer ownership without the whole probate process under the probate law? First, you need to find the deed that the deceased owned. The act may have a life estate for someone else, but it will state so in the deed itself. That way, we will be able to determine how the property can be transferred. Some real estate may be transferred through a small estate affidavit.

How do you prepare a small estate affidavit?
Two disinterested witnesses must swear to the small estate affidavit— that is, people aged 18 and over, who are not the estate’s heirs. It must also include a list of all known assets and liabilities, including the family history, which shows the right of each person to inherit the estate assets.

What is an affidavit of heirship, and when do you use it?
An affidavit of heirship is used when somebody dies without a will, and most of the estate consists of real property titled in the decedent’s name. It is an affidavit that is used to identify the heirs to real property when the decedent died without a will (i.e. intestate).

The affidavit is signed by all the Distributees, two disinterested witnesses, and the probate Court Judge. It is then filed or recorded with deed records in the county located of the deceased’s real property. It will effectively transfer title to the real estate.

What is a Transfer on Death Deed, you may ask?

Will I be able to name more than one beneficiary? Indeed, the Transfer on Death Deed law allows you to name more than one beneficiary. It also requires you to select an alternative heir. It is strongly recommended in case the first beneficiary dies before you do.

What happens when the beneficiary I chose dies?
For the transfer to be successful, the beneficiary must survive the grantor by 120 hours or five days. A person executing a Transfer on Death Deed is highly recommended always to find an alternate beneficiary. If there is no beneficiary upon death, the Transfer on Death Deed will be invalid, and the property will take into probate.

Should the beneficiary be a person?
Yes, a beneficiary should be a person but can also be an organization, institution, charity, trust, etc.

Can the beneficiary be a general group of people?
No, you have to be specific. The Transfer on Death Deed doesn’t allow you to name classes of relatives like, “all of my children.” The beneficiaries’ names and addresses should appear on the deed.

Does a beneficiary need to sign a Transfer on Death deed?
No, the beneficiary doesn’t need to sign to a Transfer on Death Deed. Moreover, the Transfer on Death Deed need not be delivered to the recipient to be effective. It is up to you whether you tell the beneficiary that you have named him/her in a Transfer on Death Deed. But it is highly recommended that you inform the person about your plans.

Does a Transfer on Death Deed affect my rights while I’m alive?
No, the Transfer on Death Deed is not valid until you die. That means the beneficiary you named in the Transfer on Death Deed won’t be able to control your property. You don’t need the beneficiary’s permission to mortgage or sell the land. Your property is not subject to the beneficiary’s debts. Your interest in the real estate only goes to the recipient once you die.

Our TX real estate attorney is always available to serve Cypress, Tomball, and Northwest Houston and the surrounding communities of Texas. Get legal representation that works best for you! Contact the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC and give us a call at 281-970-8039, or you can email us on our firm’s website.

How do I transfer title for a deceased family member’s house?

November 26, 2019

August 25, 2023

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