Validity of Deed to Deceased Persons – Exceptions
Contributor, Zack Callarman
Texas law generally provides that a grant or deed to a deceased person is void, and that title to the lands purportedly conveyed to the deceased grantee does not pass to the heirs or devisees of the same. There are two exceptions to this rule: (1) when the language “heirs and assigns” follows the grantee’s name in the granting clause of the instrument and said heirs/assigns are identifiable at the time of the conveyance, and (2) when the Veterans Land Board (hereinafter “VLB”) conveys the land pursuant to a prior contract for sale and purchase between the VLB and the deceased grantee.
Title examiners may sometimes review recorded contracts for sale and purchase between the VLB (as seller) and a military veteran (as purchaser). Typically, the recorded contract between the parties provides that the VLB will execute and record a deed to the purchaser after the purchaser has fulfilled his/her payment obligation. In some cases, the non-existence of a subsequent deed from the VLB to the purchaser is a simple omission, whereas in other cases, the non-existence of a deed could indicate that the payment obligation has not been fulfilled. Notably, when the VLB later executes and records a deed to the purchaser and that purchaser is no longer living, Texas Natural Resources Code § 161.229 (d) provides that the deed is not void, and that the deed and the rights conveyed still inure to the benefit of the legal owner.
The above information is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted or construed as legal advice on any subject matter, and may not represent current legal developments. Any person viewing the above should seek legal advice from a licensed attorney prior to acting or refraining from acting, based upon the information provided above. Mazurek, Alford & Holliday, P.C., expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based upon any or all of the contents of the information provided above.
 Lott v. Dashiell, 233 S.W. 1103, 1108 (Tex. Civ. App.–San Antonio, 1921).
Haile v. Holtzclaw, 414 S.W.2d 916, 927 (Tex. 1967) (citing McKee v. Ellis, 83 S.W. 880 (Tex.Civ.App.1904, no writ hist.)
 Id.; Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 161.229 (d) (West 1977).