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Texas Transfer on death deed

Texas allows an individual property owner (transferor) to transfer their interest in real property using a Texas Transfer on Death Deed. This deed is often referred to as a TODD.

The full name of a TODD is Revocable Transfer on Death Deed.

Keep in mind, a Transfer on Death Deed cannot be used for personal property, such as cars or mobile homes.

This deed should be prepared, signed, and notarized before a property owner dies.

  • The current owner must be alive and mentally competent.
  • The current owner must sign the document in front of a notary.
  • The document must be filed with the county clerk before the owner dies.
  • The document cannot be signed using a Power of Attorney.
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A Transfer on Death Deed can only be used for one owner. If the property is owned by two or more owners, you will need one TODD for each owner.

It is common for two spouses to each sign separate Transfer on Death Deeds leaving the property to the surviving spouse, and if he or she passes, then to their children.

This simple document replaces a Last Will and Testament for the property.

A TODD is similar to a Survivorship Agreement but it allows you to designate alternate beneficiaries. A Survivorship Agreement does not allow for alternate beneficiaries.

There is no limit on how many people you can leave your property to. Also, you can leave it to trusts or similar entities; the beneficiary does not need to be human.

A Transfer on Death Deed is a future transfer of the property. It is not a present transfer of the property.

Ownership of the property does not change until the owner who signed the Transfer on Death Deed dies. No formal action is required to transfer the property upon the death of the owner. The transfer is automatic upon the death of the owner.

Good to know: The property is transferred on the death of the owner only if the owner still owns the property at the time of his or her death.

If the owner sells or transfers the property before his or her death, the Transfer on Death Deed is revoked.

Note: If a property owner dies without a TODD, there may be other options to transfer the deed of a house after death. You may need two documents if this is the case. In most cases, an Affidavit of Heirship and a General Warranty Deed may be used.

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Transfer on death deed

The terminology of a Transfer on Death Deed is different from other deeds.

Good to know: This deed is not a testamentary instrument and it is not a Will. The TODD does not replace a Will.

You may still need a Will for other property, banks accounts, stock certificates or financial funds.

When a TODD is properly prepared, signed, notarized, and recorded in the deed records, no Probate is needed to transfer title to the property described in the deed.

Most importantly, not having to go to Probate could potentially save your family thousands of dollars. Conversely, our fee to prepare a Transfer on Death Deed is only $195.

Good to know: Since the Transfer on Death Deed conveys property outside of Probate, it avoids incurring probate costs to transfer the property to your beneficiaries upon your death.

Under current law, it may also exclude the real property from Medicaid estate recovery. We make no guarantees, however. The law changes often. Contact your local Medicaid office if you have questions regarding Medicaid.

Note: When the property owner who signed the Transfer on Death Deed passes away, an Affidavit of Death may be filed in the property records.  This document verifies the death of the owner and the beneficiary or beneficiaries named on the Transfer on Death Deed become the new owners of the property

An Affidavit of Death is not required, but it can be used to show that the owner died, and the beneficiary now owns the property. You can also contact the tax office and provide a copy of the owner’s death certificate to update the tax records.

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Good to know: It is recommended that you name alternative beneficiaries when planning property deed transfers upon death. Should the original beneficiaries die before you do, the property will transfer to the alternative beneficiaries.

Beneficiary Deed

It is worth noting that in some states the TODD may be referred to as a Beneficiary Deed. However, this is not the term legally used in Texas.

A TODD names beneficiaries who will own the real property at the time of the transferor’s death. You can name one or more beneficiaries. The beneficiaries can share equally or in whatever percentage share you desire to designate.

A beneficiary may be anyone or any entity, including:

  • A person or persons
  • An organization
  • An institution
  • A charity
  • A trust

Advantages of a transfer upon Death Deed

One advantage of a Transfer upon Death Deed is that, unlike other deeds, it can be revoked for any reason at any time prior to your death or that you have revoked it.

In other words: If you change your mind, you simply revoke it by signing and filing a new TODD or a Revocation of Transfer on Death Deed.

Furthermore, you keep the rights to sell the property, mortgage or lease it at any time before you pass.  You do not need the permission of your beneficiaries.  In fact, your beneficiaries do not need to know you signed and filed the Transfer on Death Deed (TODD).

If you sell the property, the TODD is revoked without further action.

Note: The time to plan for the transfer of property upon the death of a loved one is before they pass.

Good to know: With a Transfer on Death Deed you continue to be entitled to claim any tax exemptions you may be receiving.

There are many tax exemptions available in Texas, including:

General Residence Homestead • Age 65 or Older Exemption • Age 55 or Older Surviving Spouse of individual who qualified for Age 65 or Older Exemption • Disabled Person Exemption • 100% Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran who received the 100% Disabled Veteran’s Exemption • Donated Residence Homestead of Partially Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran who qualified for Donated Residence Homestead • Surviving Spouse of Member of Armed Forces Killed in Action • Surviving Spouse of First Responder Killed in Line of Duty • Partially Disabled Veteran or Survivor (not limited to your homestead).

Tax exemptions can save you money.

To claim your exemptions, contact your local Central Appraisal District.

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Do you have questions about a Transfer on Death 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.

Board Certified in Residential Real Estate Law in Texas. For Texas Property Deeds
The Steinbach Law Firm for Texas Property Deeds