In order to add your spouse's name to a property deed in Texas, transfer title from yourself to the two of you, either as tenants in common or as joint tenants. Use a deed without warranty that conveys title but doesn't warrant the title to be free of defects, or you can also use a quitclaim deed.
Conveying Title in Texas
You can't simply amend a deed to add someone else's name to the property. In order to add a name to a property deed in Texas, you need to convey an interest in the property to the person you wish to add to the title.
If you're adding your spouse's name, but you intend to keep your own name on the deed, transfer title from yourself to the two of you. You must decide what type of deed to use and how you want to hold property with your spouse.
Quitclaim or Deed Without Warranty
Most states recognize warranty deeds, a type of deed that transfers an interest in title to another person and guarantees that title to be free of defects. In Texas, general warranty deeds carry a warranty that the title is completely free of defects. A special warranty deed limits the warranty to the period the person transferring title – the grantor – owned the property.
It is more expensive and time-consuming to guarantee title than it is to simply transfer title. And sometimes it isn't necessary. If a spouse is simply transferring an interest in his property to his spouse, he doesn't need to warranty the title. He simply gifts whatever interest he has to his spouse. Many states, including Texas, permit the use of quitclaim deeds. By using one of these deeds, a grantor "quits" his "claim" to the title he is transferring. In other words, he transfers whatever title he holds, if any.
Texas also offers a Deed Without Warranty. This type of deed, as its name implies, doesn't have a warranty. The grantor makes no promises to stand behind the title. But the Deed Without Warranty states that it "grants, sells and conveys" and – unlike a quitclaim – it transfers the interest described in it.
Preparing a Deed to Add Spouse to House Title
Look for deed forms at office supply stores in Texas, from the courts, your lawyer or your realtor. Versions that can be filled in online, like that offered by Nolo.com, may be more efficient.
Before you fill in the deed form, decide how you and your spouse will hold title to the property. You can be tenants in common or joint tenants with rights of survivorship. You may want to discuss the various ways of holding title to property with an attorney. Essentially, each tenant in common can bequeath her share to her own heirs, while joint tenants often intend the survivor to inherit the share of the deceased joint tenant.
To prepare your deed, fill in the form and print it out, then sign it in front of a notary. In order to make the deed effective against third parties, you must record it at the county recorder's office where the property is located.
Read More: How to Write a Property Deed
You can't add your spouse's name to an existing deed in Texas, but you can create a new deed by transferring the property from yourself to yourself and your spouse jointly, using either a deed without warranty or a quitclaim deed. Be careful about quitclaim deeds, however, as in Texas, they don't actually transfer title.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.