Estate Title Transfer Valid? Please Help Texas Title Professional

3 Replies

I hope this is the right forum to post this in... but I'm hoping to get some advice from some people who really know their Texas title issues.

My father recently past away and had setup a family trust to avoid probate of his estate. The question is whether an unrecorded Quit Claim deed that transferred ownership from my dad and mom to the trust in 1992 is valid. Note, this is for a house that is jointly held by my mom and dad, it was their primary residence for 20 or so years but was later turned into a rental.

1. The Quit Claim deed was not recorded at county

2. Since 1992, when my parents signed the quit claim deed, they had the last names changed

3. Note, they both did go back and cross out their old last names on the and write in the new last names on the quit claim deed and then initialed. 

4. The final wrinkle is that in 2015 my parents refinanced the house and at that time, the title company required my parents quit claim the deed out of their old last names to their new last names.

A financial planner who is helping my mom, expressed concern the 1992 quit claim deed may not be valid since it was never recorded and they changed their names, as well as, having a more recent quit claim be recorded. This is important because if we cannot get title to the property into the Trust, the property will have to be probated, which can be much more expensive. Any advice or information is greatly appreciated.

I am not an attorney nor am I a Title Company. But I do work with Estates all the time as a CPA. With that being said, consult with a Texas Attorney.

As I am reading your post, I am scratching my head wondering why the 1992 quit claim deed was never recorded by the county?

But as I continued to read, I see that in 2015 a deed was recorded showing title in their personal names. Did the deed reflect them as husband and wife on the title? In other words, did title transfer as tenancy by the entirety/joint with right of survivorship? If so, then title would pass to your mom from your dad by operation of law. In other words, title passes to your mom outside the Will. If that is the case, then your mom could then transfer the property to her Living Trust, ensuring that when the time comes for her to go, the asset will pass outside of Probate.

Unless their estate was in excess of $5 million this was poor estate planning 

The QC from 1992 is no good as there is a succeeding QC from 2015 that was recorded. FYI-Title Companies in Texas are very reluctant to honor QC Deeds

You might be able to get away with an Affidavit of Heirship but that would depend on how long ago your father passed. Either way probate is the safe bet and should be in the $2500-3000 range.  

Texas is a notice state.

Recorded deeds will take precedence over unrecorded interests.

I'm curious about your language "never recorded by county" was this submitted to the clerk?

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