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California Transfer on Death Deed

Use this form to transfer real estate at death, but outside of a will and without the need for probate distribution. Execute the TODD form, then record it during the course of your life, and within 60 days of the signing date (5626(a)). Note that unlike grant deeds or quitclaim deeds, there is no change in ownership when transfer on death deeds are recorded (5650), so they are exempt from transfer taxes and the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (PCOR).

Section 5650 explains that while you are alive, you retain absolute ownership of and control over your property. You may sell, mortgage, rent, or otherwise use the real estate in any lawful manner, without input from or notice to the beneficiaries, or even modify or revoke the future transfer.

Be aware, too, that the TODD is NOT affected by provisions in your will (5642(b)). Best practices dictate that any change to an estate plan initiates a review of the whole thing, so to reduce the chance for conflict, ensure that the transfer on death deed reinforces the will and other related documents.

Beneficiaries take title to the property under the rules set out at section 5652. Any associated debts, obligations, or agreements in place when you die follow the real estate to the beneficiaries. In addition, the title transfers without warranty, so the beneficiaries might find themselves liable for future claims against the property. For these reasons, among others, some beneficiaries might wish to disclaim the gift (5652(a)(1)).

As it stands, California's transfer on death deed is not valid for real estate held in joint tenancy or as community property with right of survivorship (5664).

Overall, the Simple Revocable Transfer on Death Deed offers a convenient, flexible option to consider as part of an overall estate plan. Even so, they may not be appropriate in all cases. Contact an attorney for complex situations or with any questions.

Deeds.com California Transfer on Death Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday March 21, 2019

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California Transfer on Death Deed Form