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Interesting Developments In Inheritance Laws

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Gift Deeds In Texas

Gift deeds in Texas

What are the requirements for deeds in Texas

To be a valid deed, the document must be (1) in writing, (2) signed, (3) describe the property, and (4) delivered. TPC §5.021.

What are the requirements for gift deeds in Texas

To be valid, gift deeds in Texas further require the document set forth (1) the intent of the grantor, (2) the delivery of the property to the grantee, and (3) the gift to be accepted by the grantee. The one claiming the gift bears the burden to establish each of the elements. All dominion and control over the property must be released by the owner. Delivery is required, but it need not be actual or immediate. If the grantor intended for the title to pass immediately upon execution and acknowledgement, there is a valid constructive delivery.

Recent case dealing with gift deeds in Texas

In 2016, the San Antonio court of appeals was asked to decide if a document was a gift deed. The document was titled “March 11, 2005 Will” of two people who owned the property in question and was signed by them. The document said “we agree that the house be evenly owned by” the grandchildren. The court ruled that the key issue turns on the intent of the donor when the document was executed. A gift is a voluntary transfer of property to another made gratuitously and without consideration. Establishing donative intent requires “evidence that the donor intended an immediate and unconditional divestiture of his or her ownership interests and an immediate and unconditional vesting of such interests in the donee.” Until the donor has absolutely and irrevocably divested herself of the title, dominion, and control of the subject of the gift, she has the power to revoke the gift. Here, the conveyance in the “March 11, 2005 Will” lacks present donative intent. The document provides “[w]e agree that the house be evenly owned by (grandchildren)” and the document’s title as a will clearly implies the donor’s intent to transfer ownership of the property to the (grandchildren) upon the testators’ deaths. The transfer did not provide for an immediate and unconditional divestment of the donors’ interests. By its very nature, the “March 11, 2005 Will” does not “absolutely and irrevocably divest” the owners of “title, dominion, and control of” the property. The court reversed the trial court who had ruled that the document was a gift deed. 04-14-00609-CV.

What you should know

Gift deeds in Texas are valid; however, there are strict requirements for gift deeds in Texas that have to be met. If you have a document that might be a gift deed or if someone is claiming they have a gift deed to property that should be yours, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

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We handle litigation involving inheritance disputes. We don't prepare wills. We handle a select few cases on contingency. Don't use a comment to ask a personal question about an inheritance issue because your name and comment will be public. To ask a litigation question and to protect your privacy, click the red button to the right.


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