There are several reasons why proof of ownership of a particular piece of property must be established. Perhaps someone else is claiming ownership. Or maybe the owner died and an heir must claim it. It is even possible it becomes part of a trust and the trustee must show proof. Maybe it is part of a settlement of divorce or other proceeding.
There is also establishing proof of eligible ownership, as for the Section 8 Housing Voucher program.
How is proof of ownership established? It depends on the type of property and the relationship the claimant has to it.
Original Owner Claim
If you are the original owner and you have been reported as the property owner you must prove it. There are several pieces of documentation you will need to provide for the State of Texas, including:
- Copy of driver’s license or other photo ID.
- Copy of proof of social security number.
- Proof of your association with address such as a utility bill, driver’s license with that address, even a report card.
- Proof of business dealings between you and the reporting company such as an insurance policy, a receipt, a mineral property division order, or some other contract.
If you are a parent or custodian claiming on behalf of a minor; you are a guardian or trustee of the reported owner; or if you are the heir or executor/administrator of the deceased property owner you must show:
- Your driver’s license and proof of social security number.
- Proof of identity and ownership from the reported property owner including the social security number, a military ID, tax record, school record or insurance ID.
- If there is more than one owner, this same information will be needed for each individual.
- For each owner, there must be documents supporting their association with the property and of business dealings.
A parent or custodian for someone under 18 years of age must show the child’s birth certificate. If the person is older than 18, then a photo ID and social security number are required.
A court appointed guardian needs a copy of current letters of guardianship and a copy of the owner’s photo ID.
Heirs, trustees, executors, and administrators must all show a copy of the owner’s death certificate and the appropriate documentation such as a will, letters of administration, current Letters Testamentary, or copy of the trust agreement.
Proof of Ownership for Section 8 Housing Voucher Program
Section 8 of the housing voucher program has some slightly different requirements. You must possess a warranty deed with the county recorder including the instrument number and stamp. It must have the specific address of the unit on the deed. Alternatively, you must show a current copy of the county assessor’s property tax statement with the property owner’s name and specific address. You may even be able to use a real estate disclosure form with the county assessor’s stamp on it.
Please note: the deed cannot be handwritten. If the property is held in trust, you need a complete copy of the trust agreement. If it is jointly owned the deed must state so.
Unmarried Property Co-owners
The best piece of advice is to get everything in writing if you are considering jointly owning property with someone who is not your legal spouse. Sometimes a domestic partnership agreement can support the claim but be certain before buying.
Without this type of documentation of ownership, the property may pass to someone else, such as next of kin, if one of you should die.
There are other types of ownership like joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Only a death certificate is required to remove a deceased owner’s name from the deed. Certain states are so-called “community property” states. In this case, the property will pass according to an estate plan, or, lacking that, state law.