What Happens if I Divorce After Naming My Spouse as a Transfer on Death Deed Beneficiary?

The Texas transfer on death deed is a document that allows homeowners to transfer property to their heirs outside of probate.

Most couples who own property jointly in Texas own the property as tenants in common. If property is owned as tenants in common and one of the owners dies, the other owner will not automatically inherit the deceased owner’s share of the property. Therefore, if you are married and you want your share of the property to pass to your spouse after you die, you must name your spouse as the beneficiary.

But what happens if after you’ve appointed your spouse as the beneficiary, you get a divorce?

The Texas transfer on death deed statute says that if the homeowner and beneficiary divorce after a transfer on death deed is recorded, a final judgment of the court dissolving the marriage operates to revoke the transfer on death deed as to the ex-spouse as long as notice of the judgment is recorded before the homeowner’s death in the deed records of the county where the deed is recorded.

So if you signed a transfer on death deed during your marriage naming your now ex-spouse as the beneficiary, be sure to revoke that deed by either:

  1. Signing a new transfer on death deed revoking the prior one or specifying that the property should pass to someone else;
  2. Signing a cancellation of the transfer; or
  3. Filing the court’s judgment dissolving the marriage in the deed records of the county where the deed is recorded.

Otherwise, your ex-spouse may end up with the property.

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