A deed is an instrument used to transfer ownership of real estate. It must in writing. An oral transfer of real property is invalid, under the Texas statute of frauds.
A typical real estate deed must contain:
A detailed description of the property
The name of the person to whom the property is being transferred (the transferee)
The signature of the individual or entity transferring the property (usually the seller), acknowledged by a notary
Deeds take the following general forms:
General Warranty Deed – This form warrants title not just from the previous owner but from all previous owners so that the title that is given to the new owner (Grantee) is secure.
Quit Claim Deed – This form transfers the ownership the Grantor has in the property to the new owner. Although, this does not guarantee that the Grantor has ownership in the property. This provides little security to the Grantee.
Special Warranty Deed – This form provides limited protection to the new owner as to the security of the title. It is not as secure as the General Warranty Deed.
Deed of Trust – this is similar to a mortgage. Title is transferred to a trustee, which is usually a trust or title company that holds the real property as security for the borrower's loan. At the time the loan is paid in full, title is transferred to the borrower.
Transfer on Death Deed – This is a special form of deed that was created by the Texas Legislature in 2015. This form of deed allows for a streamlined process to avoid probate, treating real property much like a financial account or life insurance, which can be transferred outside probate through a beneficiary designation. While the Grantor is alive, the beneficiary receives no interest in the property subject to the TODD. Upon the death of the grantor, the property subject to the TODD vests in the beneficiary so long as the beneficiary survives the grantor by 120 hours. The grantor may revoke a TODD at any time and for any or no reason. A TODD cannot be made to be irrevocable.
Just like with a will, the grantor of a deed must have sufficient mental capacity to understand and appreciate the nature of what they are doing. And a deed that was the product of undue influence is not valid.