Easing the Probate Burden for Your Heirs


Last year California introduced a newer, simpler, way to bequeath real property to your loved ones.  Before this many homeowners went through a long process of creating a living trust, transferring real estate into the trust, and leaving it to the heirs, aka successor trustees, to sort it all out.  In most cases it took an expensive attorney on both ends … to create the trust, and to unwind it.  It was easier than probate court, at least that’s what we were told.

For most homeowners, the one page, revocable Transfer On Death Deed (TOD Deed) will transfer your home to your heirs without the need for an attorney, a living trust, a court probate, or a real estate agent.  It’s not the perfect solution.  It won’t work for everyone, but for most it’s a major improvement in how we handle our final affairs.

The law works best for an individual whose most valuable asset is their home, and who otherwise has limited assets.  Under such circumstances, the house can be transferred by the TOD Deed, while other assets may be handled via naming your intended heir as a beneficiary.  California, like many states, allows automobile owners to identify a beneficiary when registering the vehicle.  Many stocks, bonds, bank and brokerage accounts may be transferred in a similar manner.

Key Facts for the TOD Deed:
► May be changed or cancelled at any time prior to death
► Does not supersede joint tenancy or community property
► Property must be residential, 1-4 units
► Deed must be notarized & then recorded within 60 days
► Applicable taxes remain in force
► Transfer may be subject to existing debt

A copy of the current form may be found at this link to the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office.  https://www.lavote.net/documents/Revocable_Transfer_on_Death_Deed.pdf  Not being attorneys, real estate agents are not authorized to file for you.  However, we can provide the information and explanations you need to complete the form.

If you’d like more information, call us at 310-963-4788 or write to info@carlandarda.com.  We’d be happy to stop by with the form, instructions and a list of frequently asked questions, and the answers. No cost. No obligation.

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