Real property owners in Alaska have a new estate planning option: the transfer on death deed (TODD).
Alaska joins with an increasing number of states using this law to help real estate owners manage the distribution of what is often their most significant asset — their real estate — by executing and recording a transfer on death deed.
Transfer on death deeds are nontestamentary, which means ownership of the property passes to the beneficiary without including it in a will or a need for probate (AS 13.48.030).
What does the Alaska Transfer on Death (TOD) deed do? When you die, this deed transfers the described property, subject to any liens or mortgages (or other encumbrances) on the property at your death. Probate is not required. The TOD deed has no effect until you die. You can revoke it at any time. You are also free to transfer the property to someone else during your lifetime. If you do not own any interest in the property when you die, this deed will have no effect.
How do I make a TOD deed? Complete the transfer on death deed form. Have it acknowledged before a notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments. Record the form in each recording district where any part of the property is located. The form has no effect unless it is acknowledged and recorded before your death.
Is the “legal description” of the property necessary? Yes.
How do I find the “legal description” of the property? This information may be on the deed you received when you became an owner of the property. This information may also be available in the office of the recorder in the recording district where the property is located. If you are not absolutely sure, consult a lawyer.
Can I change my mind before I record the TOD deed? Yes. If you have not yet recorded the deed and want to change your mind, simply tear up or otherwise destroy the deed.
How do I “record” the TOD deed? Take the completed and acknowledged form to the office of the recorder in the recording district where the property is located. Follow the instructions given by the recorder to make the form part of the official property records. If the property is in more than one recording district, you should record the deed in each recording district.
Can I later revoke the TOD deed if I change my mind? Yes. You can revoke the TOD deed. No one, including the beneficiaries, can prevent you from revoking the deed.
How do I revoke the TOD deed after it is recorded? There are three ways to revoke a recorded TOD deed: (1) Complete and acknowledge a revocation form, and record it in each recording district where the property is located.(2) Complete and acknowledge a new TOD deed that disposes of the same property, and record it in each recording district where the property is located. (3) Transfer the property to someone else during your lifetime by a recorded deed that expressly revokes the TOD deed. You may not revoke the TOD deed by will.
I am being pressured to complete this form. What should I do? Do not complete this form under pressure. Seek help from a trusted family member, friend, or lawyer.
Do I need to tell the beneficiaries about the TOD deed? No, but it is recommended. Secrecy can cause later complications and might make it easier for others to commit fraud.
Related Alaska Transfer on Death Documents: