Estate Planning

The Texas Transfer on Death Deed

What Happens if the Beneficiary of my Transfer on Death Deed Dies Before Me?

by Rania Combs

The Texas Transfer on Death Deed, allows homeowners to name a beneficiary who will inherit their property after they die.

It works like a beneficiary designation on a bank account or an insurance policy. If a beneficiary is named, the property will pass to the beneficiary outside the probate process.

But what happens if the beneficiary you have designated dies before you? Who will get the property then?

Beneficiary Must Survive by Five Days

The law specifies that any designated beneficiary must survive the property owner by 120 hours to inherit the interest in the real property. If a beneficiary does not survive by 120 hours, then the beneficiary will be deemed to have predeceased the property owner.

Naming an Alternate Beneficiary

It is possible for you to name an alternate beneficiary of your property. If the primary beneficiary dies before you, or is deemed to have died before you because he or she did not survive you by 120 hours, the alternate beneficiary will inherit the property.

What if Primary and Alternate Beneficiaries Die Before Homeowner?

If neither the primary nor contingent beneficiary survives the homeowner, then the interest will become part of the homeowner’s estate. This means that it will pass according to the intestacy statutes if the homeowner died without a Will or according to the terms of the homeowner’s Will.

Because the possibility exists that your beneficiaries will die before you, it’s still important for you to have a well-drafted Will to ensure that your real property will pass according to your wishes.


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