Life Estate DEEDs Texas

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texas Life Estate Deed

A Texas Life Estate Deed transfers title of real property into two different interests. The two interests becomes the owners of the property.

Both interests hold title at the same time. However, each of the interests have separate rights of possession. The interests created by the life estate deed are:

  1. The Life Estate interest. This interest is called the “life tenant”

  2. The Remainderman interest. This interest is called the “remainderman”

Note:  One benefit of transferring a house with a life estate property deed may be to avoid the cost of probate.

Good to know:  Once a life estate deed is created and filed, both the life tenant and the remainderman must agree if changes are to be made to the ownership of the property.

On the other hand, an enhanced life estate deed Texas allows the life tenant to make changes at any time without the consent on the remainderman. This deed is also known as a Lady Bird Deed.

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The information provided is not intended as tax advice. Please consult a CPA or a tax advisor for tax questions.

Note: When a Life Tenant passes away, it is recommended that you file an Affidavit of Death in the property records to confirm the death of the Life Tenant named in a Life Estate Deed.

Life Estate Deeds

Some important points worth noting about life estate deeds:

  • The life estate deed removes the property from the life tenant’s estate and transfers the property upon the death of the life tenant. This eliminates the property from probate.
  • Once this deed is created, the life tenant usually CANNOT make changes to title of the property. The consent of the remainderman will be required unless the deed states differently.
  • Both interests hold title at the same time. The life tenant has current possession. The remainderman gains possession when the life tenant dies.
  • In many cases, the transfer may not be considered a gift and therefore is not subject to gift tax.
  • Life tenant should maintain the property and pay the taxes and insurance.
  • Since using a life estate avoids probate, the property title may be cleared quickly.
  • Some states may require a death certificate to be recorded with the register of deeds office in the county where the property is located.

How to remove someone from a life estate

Unless the Life Estate Deed is an Enhanced Life Estate Deed or a Lady Bird Deed, the Life Tenant cannot sell the property without the written consent of the Remainderman.

Once the Life Estate Deed is signed by the Grantor and recorded in the County Clerk’s office, it cannot be changed without the written permission of both the Life Tenant and the Remainderman.

Good to know: If the Remainderman sells the property, the Life Tenant’s right to continue to use the property for life remains with the property.

With a traditional Life Estate Deed, the written consent of both parties, the Life Tenant and the Remainderman, is required if the property is to be sold during the lifetime of the Life Tenant. This requirement ends on the death of the Life Tenant.

Life Estate Deed vs Enhanced Life Estate Deed

The major difference between a traditional Life Estate Deed and the Enhanced Life Estate or Lady Bird Deed is the right of the Life Tenant to remove the Remainderman up to the time of the death of the Life Tenant.

Good to know: A title company or a buyer MAY still require the Remainderman to sign off of the sale to avoid any future problems with the Remainderman.

With a Life Estate, while the Life Tenant is alive, he or she may relinquish their own interest in the property to the Remainderman. But may not transfer or sell it to a third party. 

If he or she chooses to relinquish the property, they may use a deed to do so. The deed will need to include a legal description of the real property and should be filed with the county clerk.

After a Life Tenant dies, the Remainderman may need a copy of the Life Tenant’s death certificate or some other proof of death. This information is usually not filed with the County Clerk.

Upon the death of the Life Tenant, the Remainderman owns complete title to the real property.

Residential Real Estate Law

At Texas Property Deeds, your Life Estate Deed will be prepared by a Texas licensed attorney board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Residential Real Estate Law.

With over 30 years experience in real estate law, we make sure your  document will be prepared correctly. 

Good to know:  We do not advise using a “fill-in-the-blank” Texas life estate deed form as unintended mistakes may be difficult to correct once this deed is filed.

Note: If you anticipate that you would like to create a Life Estate Deed, it is advisable to do so sooner rather than later.

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LIfe Estate Deed prepared for $195

Do you have questions about a Life Estate Deed? Call and speak directly with attorney Scott Steinbach at 972-960-1850.  Or email him at

R. Scott Steinbach is licensed in the state of Texas.  Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Residential Real Estate Law. AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubble. Peer rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence.

Texas Property Deeds is a service of The Steinbach Law Firm.  

The Steinbach Law Firm is a Texas Real Estate Law Firm. We prepare all documents for any real estate transaction in Texas.