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How do I get the name on the deed of a house changed after the owner's death?

San Antonio, TX |

My Mother died in 2007. In her will, she left her possessions to be distributed between her 5 children. My sister was her caregiver, and after the will was probated, my other siblings and I decided to create a trust with the sister as the beneficiary, since she was no longer able to work. I am the trustee for this trust, and also the executor of my Mother's estate. There are no longer any funds in the trust, so I would like to sell the house, and put the proceeds in a bank account (in the name of the trust). The trust documents provide for this, but I found that the house deed is still in my Mother's name. How do I go forward with this? Do I need to change the name on the deed, and how to do I go about that?

Attorney Answers 3


If you are the executor of your mother's estate and hold Letters Testamentary, then you need to have an Executor's Special Warranty Deed prepared by a real estate attorney and file that along with an original of your Letters Testamentary in the Official Public Records of the county in which the real estate is owned. You don't need to transfer the property into the trust, just wait until it is sold and then give the buyer an Executor's Special Warranty Deed. Depending on the language in your mother's will, you may need a Quitclaim Deed from all of her five children to satisfy the title company at the time you close the sale of the property.

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Your question needs more information to be answered accurately. You indicated that that you and your siblings created a trust. Was it your intention that all of your mother's assets be transferred into the trust for the benefit of your sister (the caregiver)? If so, was there some sort of family settlement agreement that reflects this agreement? If that is the case, then you should be able to transfer the property from the estate into the trust pursuant to the terms of the family settlement agreement. How that is done will depend on the specific terms of your agreement. It may be able to be transferred by you as the executor, or may require the other siblings to sign deeds as well. I would caution against a quit claim deeds as title companies dislike them. A simple special warranty deed would be preferable. Unfortunately, you often won't discover the issue with a quit claim deed until you decide to sell the property, which may be years later. A quit claim deed is a perfectly legal and valid transfer of their interest (if they have any), but title companies can refuse to issue title insurance anyway.

Hope this helps.

The information contained in this response is provided as a service and does not constitute legal advice. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

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The other attorneys are right that it depends on the documents. The attorney will need to look to the probate or family settlement agreement to complete the deed. A probate attorney who also does real estate can help you prepare the necessary documents.

The Coquat Law Firm is based in San Antonio, Texas and answers questions on for general information purposes only. Attorney answers are intended to be informative only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you would like to hire an attorney from The Coquat Law Firm, please see us online at or call us at 210-745-0144.

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