Transfer-on-Death (Beneficiary) Deeds

Many states now allow you to leave real estate through a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed—a special kind of deed that takes effect only at your death. With a TOD deed, no probate court proceeding will be necessary to transfer the real estate to the beneficiary you name on the deed.

Here, you'll find the TOD deed form that's designed specifically for your state, plus complete instructions for filling it in. Learn how to:

  • Enter a legal description of the property.
  • Correctly enter the beneficiary's name and other information.
  • Sign the deed and have your signature notarized.
  • Record it in your local land records office.

NOTE: This type of deed will not work to transfer real estate into your living trust. For that, you can use a Quitclaim Deed.

See below for a full product description.

  • Avoid probate and leave your real estate with a simple transfer-on-death deed

    If you own real estate and want to make sure that it passes to your heirs without the hassle and expense of probate court, simply create a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed. This deed transfers ownership of your property just like a regular deed, but with a crucial difference: it doesn't take effect until after your death.

    Creating a TOD deed is a snap. Simply complete the following steps:

    • fill in information about you and the TOD beneficiary
    • enter a legal description of the property
    • check over the completed deed
    • sign the deed and have it notarized
    • record the deed at the land records office in the county where the property is located

    If you change your mind later, no problem—you can revoke the deed or make a new one, leaving the property to someone else.

    Take care of your beneficiaries and help them avoid probate with this deed form and plain-English instructions from Nolo.

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