Protecting Your Interests In Real Estate Matters

Attorney Georgia Barker handles real estate matters incident to probate and divorce in Texas. We also handle oil and gas rights issues. Our main office is in Sugar Land, Texas, and we offer consultations by appointment in Katy and Bellaire. Call 713-205-7573 to talk to a real estate lawyer today.

To learn more about real estate law, click on the links below.

Deeds

Co-ownership of real property

Additional real estate legal services

Mineral rights

Deeds

A deed is a very common mechanism for transferring property interests from one party to another. Texas law allows for many types of deeds, including warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, deeds without warranty, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, deeds incident to divorce, probate, executor's deeds and correction deeds.

You may have also heard of "quitclaim deeds." A quitclaim is not exactly a deed, despite the name. It is basically a document conveying or acknowledging that the "grantor" has no rights or claims to the property at issue.

In a real estate transaction, it is important to use the particular type of deed appropriate for the situation. Each type of deed conveys different rights, obligations and even restrictions on the usage of the property at issue.

Co-Ownership Of Real Property

In Texas, as in many states, multiple people can be co-owners of the same property, regardless of whether they are married to each other or not. Depending on the type of co-ownership, there are different results when it comes to inheritance, in particular. The basic types of co-ownership are tenancy-in-common and joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.

Under Texas law, co-owners who are not spouses are presumed to be tenants-in-common. Tenants-in-common will generally have the same qualitative rights to the property (such as rights of possession and access) though they may have different-sized shares in the property. When one of the owners dies, his or her share does not pass to the surviving owner, as it would in a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. It passes to the decedent's heirs or beneficiaries.

Co-owners who are spouses are not automatically considered to be joint tenants with rights of survivorship either. Rights of survivorship must be spelled out in the deed. A true joint tenancy with rights of survivorship means that the survivor will inherit the property without the property passing through probate. But unless the deed specifically states that the property is owned as a joint tenancy, the decedent's will or Texas estates law, in a case where the decedent did not have a will, will control who inherits the property.

Joint tenancies and tenancies-in-common can be created upon the acquisition of the property or can be created later by transfer of a share of the property to a co-owner. The reasons for doing this can vary from wanting someone to help take care of the property, to a desire to avoid probate (not always possible or even advisable), to a myriad other motivations.

A very important point to remember is that adding another owner to your property is not just as simple as adding that person to your deed. There are other considerations, including: whether the lender on the mortgage will consent to the transfer; whether there will be capital gains and/or gift tax consequences to the transfer; whether the transfer will render the grantor ineligible for Medicaid benefits; whether homestead benefits and exemptions will be forfeited; and more. Before concluding that adding someone else to the deed is the only option for you, make sure you walk through all of the potential consequences with your real estate attorney.

This firm handles several real property matters in addition to those described above, including:

  • Transfer of property as a part of a probate proceeding
  • Deeds incident to divorce
  • Drafting and review of hunting and grazing leases
  • Due diligence
  • Easement and boundary line disputes
  • Entity formation for investment property
  • Executor's deeds
  • Living trusts
  • Land trusts

Mineral Rights

In the realm of real estate law, "mineral rights" can refer to many different types of minerals but are most often thought of in the context of oil and natural gas interests. For families who have lived for many generations in Texas, it is not uncommon for people to inherit rights to land with oil and/or gas. These rights can be very valuable especially if the oil and gas is still producing.

This firm handles issues involving the mineral rights of landowners, whether the minerals are part of the owner's residence or located elsewhere. Some examples of the types of oil and gas matters we handle include:

  • Affidavits of heirship for mineral interests
  • Division orders
  • Estates involving mineral rights
  • Mineral deeds
  • Review of oil and gas leases
  • Sale of mineral interests
  • Severance of minerals from surface
  • Surface rights disputes with oil and gas lessors