Beneficiary deeds in Arkansas are governed by A.S.A. 18-12-608. This statute offers owners of Arkansas real property to designate one or more beneficiaries who may gain the interest that remains in the owner's name at the time of his/her death.
Even though beneficiary deeds, just like other deeds of conveyance, must be lawfully recorded after they are completed and executed (signed in front of a notary), they differ from standard deeds in some important ways. If they are not recorded during the owner's life, they have no effect. Beneficiary deeds do not transfer any present interest in the real estate, so there is no requirement for consideration.
Perhaps one of their most unique features is the fact that the owner may execute and record new beneficiary deeds that change the beneficiary, the terms of the transfer, or even revoke the whole thing. The owner may even sell the property to someone else, leaving no interest to convey at death. Again, like the beneficiary deeds, to be effective, any changes must be recorded while the owner is alive. This flexibility allows land owners to retain absolute control over and use of the property.
When the owner dies, the beneficiary gains the title to the real estate described in the beneficiary deed. Any mortgages, liens, or obligations attached to the land at the time of the owner's death become the beneficiary's responsibility. In addition, if the owner received benefits from state or federal agencies, they might file reimbursement claims against the estate or the beneficiary.
Ultimately, beneficiary deeds can be a useful part of an overall estate plan. Still, executing one may impact the owner's eligibility for asset-based programs. Carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks to this type of conveyance to ensure that it supports the owner's overall intentions. Because each situation is unique, consult an attorney with specific questions.
Deeds.com Arkansas Beneficiary Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday November 16, 2017