How to Quitclaim a Jointly Owned Property in Texas

By Beverly Bird

Quitclaim deeds don’t receive a lot of respect in Texas. Texas is a community property state and this compounds the limitations of such deeds. Under community property law, both spouses equally own everything acquired during the marriage. This means that only half the property can be conveyed by deed, unless both spouses sign it.

Quitclaim deeds don’t receive a lot of respect in Texas. Texas is a community property state and this compounds the limitations of such deeds. Under community property law, both spouses equally own everything acquired during the marriage. This means that only half the property can be conveyed by deed, unless both spouses sign it.

Jointly-Owned Community Property

When a married individual purchases property in Texas, his spouse is entitled to a half-interest if they divorce, even if he buys the property with his own income. He can only bequeath half of it in his will, because the other half belongs to his spouse. If he dies intestate, without a will, his spouse retains her one-half share -- the court will distribute the other half to the decedent's heirs, if any. If he had no children by another marriage or relationship, his surviving spouse receives his 50 percent. Otherwise, his half passes to his children. However, joint deeds with specific rights of survivorship override probate and intestacy laws in Texas. When such a deed exists, the property passes automatically to the surviving spouse. In this case, she can quitclaim her 100-percent interest to anyone she likes, simply by signing a quitclaim deed and transferring the property. However, she must receive full ownership of the property first.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Quitclaim Deeds

In many respects, quitclaim deeds are empty promises. They convey one individual’s interest in a property to someone else. They don’t convey the property itself, but only ownership rights. They don't even guarantee the grantor has any interest to convey. Theoretically, an individual can quitclaim his interest in his neighbor's home, without having any ownership stake in that property. In this case, he quitclaims nothing, and in Texas, this is perfectly legal. However, when he does have an interest in the property, a quitclaim deed transfers that interest to the deed's grantee, the person receiving it. In a community property state such as Texas, the grantee in the deed would co-own the property with the grantor’s spouse. He would receive 50 percent of the property, the grantor's share.

Use in Divorce

In a divorce situation, when property is being transferred between spouses, a quitclaim deed can be appropriate. If one spouse is signing off on her community property interest in a divorce settlement, for example, if she elects to take other assets of equal value instead, she can convey her share of the property to her spouse with such a deed. He would then have a 100-percent interest in the property, which he can quitclaim to another individual.

Conveyance by Both Owners

The only effective way to quitclaim jointly owned property in Texas is for both spouses to sign the deed. This might be the case if they wanted to liquidate the property, so each could take their interest in cash. However, if they sold the property, lenders and title companies usually require a different sort of deed. Typically, such transactions are conveyed with deeds that guarantee the owners have a 100-percent interest in the property to give.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Get a Divorced Spouse Off a House Title

References

Related articles

Does a Quitclaim Deed Pass to the Heirs?

When a person dies, a significant portion of his property passes through the probate process to be divided and distributed among the decedent’s heirs. Traditionally, an heir was a surviving spouse or relative who received property under the state’s intestacy provision. Intestacy only takes effect when there is no valid will. However, the modern definition of an heir includes anyone who receives property from an estate, whether through intestacy or a will bequest. The ownership rights of the heirs, including property that was acquired by the decedent through a quitclaim deed, depends on the circumstances of the transfer.

What Happens to Joint Property When Someone Dies Without a Will in Pennsylvania?

One of the advantages to holding property in joint names is that it may avoid the probate process. In Pennsylvania, estates must pass through probate even when a decedent dies intestate, which means without leaving a will. The probate process moves ownership of a decedent's assets to his heirs or beneficiaries, so it's necessary when no other way exists to effectuate the transfer. When title vests with another individual automatically, as with some types of joint property, probate isn’t necessary. Disposition of the joint property when there is no will is often determined by how title to the property is held.

Quit Claim & Divorce Laws in Michigan

Michigan couples, like couples around the country, must split their marital property when they divorce, including the marital home. Since a house can't be divided down the middle, couples sometimes decide to split the value of the home; one spouse keeps the home and the mortgage, while the other gets her share of the equity in the form of a buyout. The spouse who gets the buyout signs a quit claim deed to give the other spouse full title to the home.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Can a Divorce Decree Be Used in Lieu of a Quit Claim in Ohio?

When a judge issues a divorce decree, he usually specifies how personal property and real estate should be divided ...

Quitclaim Deed & Divorce in Washington State

In Washington, like all states, real property, like a house, can only be transferred in writing. The document that ...

Is a Quitclaim Deed on a House Binding in a Divorce?

Often, a divorcing couple's biggest asset is the home they own together, and this home must be split with their other ...

What Are the Treatments for Jointly Held Assets in Divorce?

The longer a couple remains married, the more jointly-owned assets they’re likely to acquire. Their lives become ...

Browse by category