Transfer on Death Deeds

The California Legislature recently passed legislation that allows for revocable transfer on death deeds. These deeds may significantly simplify estate planning for a large number of people. A revocable transfer on death deed seems to be well-suited for those persons with estates that primarily consist of a single family residence and retirement plans.

Prior to the passing of this legislation, existing law provided that a person could pass real property to a beneficiary at death by various methods including by Will, intestate succession, trust, and titling the property in joint tenancy, among others.  The revocable transfer on death deed allows for the transfer of real property on the death of its owner without a probate proceeding. The person must have testamentary capacity to make or revoke the deed and the statute requires that the deed be on the statutory form to be provided. The revocable transfer on death deed must be signed, dated, acknowledged, and recorded as specified to be effective.  The legislation establishes a process for contesting the transfer of real property by a revocable transfer on death deed.  

The real property revocable deed concept has been before the legislature repeatedly; however, for a number of reasons it was repeatedly voted down. The California legislation passed is similar to legislation that has been adopted in at least 13 other states. It is effective until January 1, 2021. 

If you believe a revocable transfer on death deed could be of benefit to you, please contact us. We are available to assist you with your estate planning needs.