The Texas Transfer on Death Deed

You should be interested in this if you own real estate and you either prefer not to probate your Will or you do not have a Will.

Disclaimer: I am NOT an attorney and I am in no way offering legal advice.

In the past, I have had clients and family members who died with an estate that was not complicated, so there was no reason to probate a Will and incur all the costs associated with that process. Banks and investment firms (eg. TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Vanguard, etc) allow you to name beneficiaries on taxable accounts. This is referred to as Transfer on Death or Payable on Death elections. Life insurance policies and retirement accounts have named beneficiaries. Car titles are easily transferred without a Will.

The one asset that has always been hard to transfer is Real Property like your house, vacation home or land. In Texas, this became easier as of September 1, 2015, I just found out. You can now utilize the “Texas Transfer on Death Deed”. It is like naming a beneficiary on your house. You can search the internet and download a form for free. Of course, you can also call your attorney to prepare the documents and advise you how that will affect your estate plan.

This is not for everyone! However, many people can save thousands of dollars by avoiding probate and simplify the process of distributing an estate by “planning ahead”.