Estate Planning

The Texas Transfer on Death Deed

Can I Revoke A Transfer On Death Deed By Will?

by Rania Combs

Suppose you signed and recorded a Texas Transfer on Death Deed naming your girlfriend as the beneficiary of your house. You had been together for several years and thought she was the love of your life. You wanted to make sure she inherited your house without having to go through a probate proceeding.

But things changed. Your girlfriend betrayed your trust, and you’re no longer on speaking terms. In fact, she is now the last person on earth you want inheriting your home.

So you pull out a piece of paper and start writing a new holographic Will. You specifically state that you are revoking the transfer on death deed you previously signed naming her as your beneficiary. You sign your new holographic will and put it away, confident that your wishes will be honored.

Will your holographic will be effective to revoke the transfer on death deed?

The short answer is: No. In fact, the Transfer on Death Deed statute specifically states: “A will may not revoke or supersede a transfer on death deed.” That is true whether regardless of whether your Will is holographic or attested.

So how can you revoke the deed? The Texas Estates Code specifies that a Transfer on Death Deed can be revoked in one of the following ways:

  • By signing a new Transfer on Death Deed that expressly revokes the prior one or specifies that the property should pass to someone else; or
  • By signing a separate document that expressly revokes the prior Transfer on Death Deed. (Note, however, the statute specifically precludes a homeowner from revoking a Transfer on Death Deed by making a contrary provision in a Will.)

The revocation must be signed and notarized by the homeowner and recorded before the homeowner’s death in the deed records of the county clerk’s office of the county were the deed being revoked is recorded.

If you simply rely on the provision of your Will and don’t sign a new transfer on death deed or a separate revocation of your deed, your estranged girlfriend would inherit your house.


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