In Texas, assets purchased during a marriage are considered marital assets, even if both names aren't on the deed. However, if you owned the home prior to marriage, it's yours alone. You can convert the home to community property by creating a new warranty deed that includes your spouse.
A warranty deed guarantees the home has a clear title. The owner pledges there are no liens or third-party claims against the property. This type of deed often is used when buying a property from a seller.
You can buy a warranty deed from a title company, office supply store or stationary store. Blank Texas warranty deeds are also available online to download and print. You also can make your own from scratch or use a template. Under state law, the warranty deed must:
- be in writing
- include the grantee's name
- include the grantor's signature
- include a legal description of the property
- be delivered to the grantee
Completing the Deed
There's no universal warranty deed in Texas. As a result, the specific procedure for completing the deed can vary slightly. For all deeds, you'll need to:
- Fill out the date section by adding the current month, day and year.
- Complete the grantor section of the deed. You are the grantor. Use your full legal name.
- Complete the grantee section. Since you want to remain on the deed, you and your spouse will be listed as grantees.
- Indicate how you want to hold the property. If you hold the title as "community property with rights of survivorship," the deceased spouse's share automatically transfers to the surviving spouse at death. If you hold the title as "joint tenants," you each hold an equal, undivided interest in the home. Upon death, your share could pass to a designated beneficiary other than your spouse.
- Enter the legal description as it appears on your original warranty deed.
- Sign the deed in the presence of a notary public.
In Texas, warranty deeds don't have to be recorded to be considered valid. When the deed is executed and delivered to the grantee, the transfer is considered effective. Recording provides notice to the public and keeps the deed safe, but isn't a legal requirement. If you're going to record the deed, you'll need to do it in the county where the home is located. Bring the deed to the county clerk's real property records division for recording. The fees vary among counties, but average around $26 at the time of publication.