For years, the biggest stumbling block to your family members to avoid a probate action in court after you pass was the family home. Or any real estate for that matter.
However, since the relatively recent invention of a beneficiary deed, also ominously known as a transfer on death deed, there is now a legal and clever way to pass on your real estate to loved ones after death. And the best part, it allows your loved ones to skip the ugly process of probate.
Probate court can be a drawn out and costly affair where the court decides who gets the property after someone dies. As you will expect, this can take a few months plus a few thousand dollars in legal and court costs.
Now, with the properly executed and recorded beneficiary deed, you can leave your land to whomever you please and that person or persons does not usually have to file a probate action or get the court’s permission.
Even better still, since a transfer on death deed form only kicks in upon death, you will still have absolute control over your property after signing it – you are welcome to rent the property, refinance it or even sell it. If your beneficiary falls out of favor, you can always name another one by executing a new beneficiary deed. In addition, since your beneficiary has no legal rights or interest in your property until you die, they cannot encumber your property, nor is it able to be attached by your beneficiary’s debtors until they take over the title after you are dead.
As of 2017, twelve states had passed laws allowing the use of this deed – Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Please feel free to make an appointment to discuss your estate planning so your wishes can be followed and your loved ones can legally avoid the need to file a probate action with court after you are gone.