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Alternatives to Probate - The Transfer on Death Deed

Passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015, House Bill 462 allows owners of real estate to transfer their interest to heirs outside of going through the probate process, similar to a beneficiary designation on a bank account or insurance policy. You can name both a primary and contingent beneficiary. In order for the Transfer on Death Deed to be effective, the deed must:

1. Contain the legal description of the property;

2. Include the name and address of the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries;

3. Be signed by the property owner (Grantor) in front of a Notary Public;

4. Include language that states the grantor's interest to the beneficiary will not become effective until the Grantor's death; and

5. The document must be recorded prior to the Grantor's death in the deed records of the County Clerk's office in which the real estate is located.

Notice and Acceptance are not required by the law. Since this type of deed makes the property a non-probate asset, any contrary provision in the will is void. You cannot revoke a Transfer on Death Deed via Will. The only way to revoke a Transfer on Death Deed is by signing a revocation prior to the Grantor's death in front of a Notary Public and filing it with the County Clerk in the proper jurisdiction. A Power of Attorney cannot be used to create or revoke a Transfer on Death Deed. A Final Decree of Divorce will revoke a Transfer on Death Deed. A Transfer on Death Deed can be a great alternative in an Estate Plan.

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