Profile picture for PukonYukon

Transfer on Death Deed instead of a will, seems simple

the transfer on Death Deed has been around now for a few years (2008?).  Has anyone had any experience with this yet? It seems like a simple way to plan ahead for property transfer without probate or without adding them to deed now as joint tenant. some pitfalls?
  • April 24 2011 - Oklahoma City
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Answers (4)

Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
interesting question, thanks for asking. I look forward to some solid responses from agents who have had experience with this.
  • April 25 2011
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Profile picture for JaniceBillman

The more grantee beneficiaries you name, the more complicated the transfer on death deed becomes.  In Minnesota all spouses must join in any conveyance - so - if you have 3 beneficiaries who decided to mortgage or sell the property at a later date, all spouses, if any, must also sign (I have 10 siblings -this would be a nightmare).  Transfer on death deeds do not protect one from medical assistance claims - you must get a Medical Assistance Clearance Certificate in order to get the property transferred to the grantee beneficiaries.  One last comment - just because you have a transfer on death  deed does not mean you shouldn't have a Will.  I do a lot of probate work and cannot tell you how many times people think they've taken care of everything, when indeed, they have not. 

  • November 28 2012
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Profile picture for RealEstateCrew
PukonYukon,

Pitfalls of Transfer on Death Deed (just thoughts):
1.  You have to wait for the person to pass away.
2.  If the Grantor changes their mind, once the deed is file (w/o restrictions) it cannot be changed without the Grantee agreeing.
3.  If the Grantee passes before the Grantor does, the Grantee's heirs will have rights to the property.

Hope this helps,

Josh Barnett, Realtor
  • November 29 2012
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Any instrument that purports to transfer property on death must satisfy all the requirements of a will.  Often, the requirements of a will and a deed are different, and that could lead to problems.  For instance, most states require 2 witnesses for a will, but not a deed.  Failure to have 2 witnesses could invalidate the deed in that case.

A more common form of deed to accomplish what you want is a "life estate".  In a life estate deed, the grantor transfers ownership to the grantee, but retains ownership during his life.  At death, the life estate disappears, and all that is left is the grantee's ownership, which is now total ownership. Since nothing transfers on death, this deed doesn't have to satisfy the requirements of a will.
  • November 30 2012
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