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I want to pass on my house or land without a will.


I want to pass on my house or land without a will.

This toolkit is designed to give you information about how to transfer property by using a Transfer on Death Deed. 

Before you use this toolkit, please read Transfer on Death Deed: Information and Answers.  

If you need other help, use Find Legal Help to look for a lawyer, free legal aid program, or self-help center in your area.

WARNING: The information and forms in this toolkit are not a substitute for the advice and help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Common Mistakes
I don't need to read anything before making my Transfer on Death Deed, do I?

It is important to learn about Transfer on Death Deeds so you know how to use one. 

Please read Transfer on Death Deed: Information and Answers.  The article will address questions such as:

  • What is a Transfer on Death Deed?
  • Does a Transfer on Death Deed affect my rights while I'm alive?
  • What if I own property with someone else?
  • Does a Transfer on Death Deed shield the property from creditors?
  • Many more...

Go to Transfer on Death Deed: Information and Answers.  

Why can't my Transfer on Death Deed use the property description from my tax records?

Oftentimes, people automatically go to their tax records when asked to obtain a legal description of their property. A legal property description should ALWAYS be obtained from an existing deed, and NOT tax records as these are oftentimes incomplete or inaccurate and can cause an otherwise properly filled out Deed to become null and void.  

Won't my property go to my spouse even without a Transfer on Death Deed?

Many people mistakenly believe that just because you are married in Texas and you own property together, that the surviving spouse automatically inherits the entire property. This is not the case. If you have a will, it will have to be probated in court to transfer the title. An alternative option is a Transfer on Death Dead to transfer the property to your spouse. 

Do I need to file my Transfer on Death Deed right away?

It can be a mistake to put off filing a Transfer on Death Dead, especially if you are in poor health.  Unfortunately once a person has passed, or is deemed incompetent, a Transfer on Death Dead is no longer an option. A power of attorney can NOT be used to execute a Transfer on Death Dead for another person. It is beneficial for Texas landowners to have a Transfer on Death Dead drafted and filed as soon as possible. 

Research Tips

At your local law library, look for:

  • O'Connor's Texas Estates Code Plus

  • Texas Probate System Practice Manuals

Law Libraries in Texas
TexasLawHelp Legal Research Guide