Transfer on death deeds (TODDs) in Oklahoma are governed by the Nontestamentary Transfer of Property Act (Title 58 O.S. 1251-1258), enacted in 2008. This law allows owners of interests in real property located in Oklahoma to designate one or more beneficiaries to receive those interests after the owner dies, but without the need for probate.
Owners who execute and record a TODD retain absolute control over and use of the property interest while living. In addition, they may modify, revoke, or otherwise convey the land any way they wish, without penalty or obligation to the beneficiaries. This is possible because unlike a traditional conveyance, there is no delivery requirement to notify the beneficiaries about what they might receive -- the deed only conveys a potential future interest in whatever remains after the owner's death ( 58-1252(B), 1257).
The statutes define an interest in real property to include "any estate or interest in, over or under land, including surface, minerals, structures and fixtures" ( 58-1252)(A)), meaning that the transfer is not limited to land, but can also include mineral rights and royalties.
Even though a TODD is not impacted by the owner's will, to reduce the likelihood of fraud and coercion, it demands the same standards of competence and capacity. Additionally, the document must be signed and acknowledged, in the presence of a notary, by the owner and two disinterested witnesses (individuals with no potential claims on the property rights) prior to recording ( 58-1253, 1258).
After the owner dies, each surviving beneficiary must execute and record an affidavit affirming his/her acceptance of the transfer ( 58-1252(C), (D)). The beneficiary takes the interest subject to all recorded obligations related to it.
NOTE: The transfer on death deed and any associated changes or revocations must be recorded, DURING THE OWNER'S LIFE, in the county where the property is located.
Overall, a transfer on death deed offers a convenient, flexible estate planning tool for owners of interests in Oklahoma real property. Each circumstance is unique, so consider all options carefully. For additional information or complex situations, contact a local attorney.
Deeds.com Oklahoma Transfer on Death Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Tuesday April 24, 2018