Transfer on Death Deed

A Transfer on Death Deed transfers real estate without the need for a costly and time-consuming probate administration. Essentially, it is a beneficiary designation for real estate.

Transfer on Death Deeds are used to convey real estate to one or more “grantee beneficiaries.” The grantee beneficiary can be people or an entity, like a revocable living trust or business. A Transfer on Death Deed is specific to the piece of real estate that is described in the deed. This means that a Transfer on Death Deed is needed for each piece of real estate that you own. This also means that if you record a Transfer on Death Deed for real estate that you own now, and you buy additional real estate in the future, you would need to record new Transfer on Death Deed(s) for the additional real estate.

There are some potential risks to using Transfer on Death Deeds. As with any type of deed, it is extremely important that you have an accurate and complete legal description for the property. Without an accurate legal description of the property, the deed may not be effective. Additional risks come from transferring real estate to more than one grantee beneficiary. These risks include failing to under understand the various types of joint ownership (joint tenants with rights of survivorship and tenants in common), not accounting for marital/spousal interests, and the potential for the grantee beneficiaries to disagree.

If you have questions about using a Transfer on Death Deed to convey real estate or to avoid probate, please contact one of our Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorneys to learn more.


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