Beneficiary deed

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Beneficiary deed

I have one adult child. All of my cash assets are set up with a “pay on death” provision. I understand my vehicle can transfer via “affidavit of heirship”, but I’m concerned about title to my home. Would a “beneficiary’s deed” be a good option in lieu of a will? Are there any pitfalls to this type of deed or action?

Asked on June 26, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In Arizona, you can make a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own -- real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and so on. You need to create a trust document (it’s similar to a will), naming someone to take over as trustee after your death (called a successor trustee). Then -- and this is crucial -- you must transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee of the trust. Once all that’s done, the property will be controlled by the terms of the trust. At your death, your successor trustee will be able to transfer it to the trust beneficiaries without probate court proceedings.

Arizona also allows you to leave real estate with transfer-on-death deeds. These deeds are also called beneficiary deeds. You sign and record the deed now, but it doesn’t take effect until your death. You can revoke the deed or sell the property at any time; the beneficiary you name on the deed has no rights until your death.

You should see a lawyer in your area as to what the pitfalls may be as your particular circumstances may create issues I can not be aware of.  Either option above would be done by a lawyer familiar with estate planning.  They will be able to let you know which works best for you.


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