A Transfer-on-Death Deed—sometimes called a TOD deed, beneficiary deed, or deed upon death—allows owners to transfer real estate to beneficiaries at death while still maintaining control over the property during life. At death, the transfer happens automatically and without the need for probate.
This interview will help create a customized, state-specific TOD deed in minutes. It guides you through a step-by-step interview to help you determine the language you need to achieve your goals. When the interview is complete, your software will create the deed and any related documents. It will also provide you with clear instructions about how to sign and record the deed.
Before we get started, there are a few items that you will need to collect:
Gathering this information in advance will help streamline the TOD deed creation process.
A 1 is not the appropriate document to use to transfer property from an owner that is already deceased. Only a living person can create a 1.
If the deceased owner co-owned the property with other owners—or if the deceased owner left a life estate deed, TOD or beneficiary deed, or lady bird deed naming someone to inherit the property—you may be able to use a survivorship affidavit to remove the deceased owner (in which case you could still use this interview to create a 1 for the surviving owner).
A survivorship affidavit is a legal document used to remove a deceased owner from title to property by recording evidence of the deceased owner’s death in the land records.
The purpose of a survivorship affidavit is to clear up the land records by letting third parties—including title companies, lenders, and the property tax officials—know that an owner has passed away and that you now own the property without that owner. It can be used in two situations:
If these conditions apply, you can create a survivorship affidavit to remove a deceased owner by completing our Survivorship Affidavit interview.
If the conditions listed above for using a survivorship affidavit do not apply, you should speak to an attorney about probate or estate administration. This service cannot be used to transfer property from a deceased owner if there are no surviving owners named in a deed to inherit the property.
Maximum number of grantors reached.
To comply with law, this interview and the related document is designed for use by a single grantor. If multiple grantors currently own the property, each grantor should create his or her own .
Maximum number of beneficiaries reached.
In the real estate context, a warranty of title is a guarantee that the transferor of real estate has the right to transfer ownership and that no one else can claim ownership of the property.
If the deed includes a warranty of title and it turns out that there is a problem with title to the property—for example, if there is an undisclosed mortgage, a tax lien against the property, or an outstanding boundary dispute—the transferee may sue the transferor for breaching the warranty.
Most deeds are named after the warranty of title they provide. In , the following types of deeds are identified by their warranty of title (or lack thereof):
The choices below allow you to choose the warranty of title to apply.
A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the current owner (grantor) to the new owner (grantee) that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the grantee can sue the grantor over any title issues.
Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys.
Choose if you want the grantor(s) to be responsible for all title issues, including those that relate to the time before the grantor(s) owned the property.
Choose if you want the grantor(s) to be responsible for only title issues that relate to the time that the grantor(s) owned the property.
Choose if you do not want the grantor(s) to be responsible for any title issues affecting the property.
The form of co-ownership specifies what happens if you leave property to one or more living beneficiaries (human beings), and one of them dies after inheriting the property under the TOD deed.
Selecting Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship will leave the property to the surviving beneficiaries on the death of a beneficiary.
Selecting Tenancy in Common will leave the property to a deceased beneficiary's heirs or the individuals named in his or her will. Probate is usually required for property held as tenants in common, but not for property held as joint tenancy with right of survivorship.
A legal description is a description of real estate that is sufficient to identify it for legal purposes. The best source of the legal description is the prior deed to the property (the deed that conveyed the property to the current owner or owners).
To locate the legal description in the prior deed, look for words of introduction like '… described as follows.' This language indicates that the legal description is about to begin. The legal description is often double-indented or set in boldface type to set it apart from the rest of the deed.
If real estate is located in a subdivision, the legal description may be very simple. It will typically refer to one or more lots, the block (or blocks) on which the lots are located, the subdivision name, and the county and state.
Lot and Block Legal Description
To see an example of how a lot and block legal description appears on an actual deed, see Sample Deed – Lot and Block.
A metes and bounds description describes the property by locating it within the public surveying system. The boundaries of the property are described by working around a parcel of real estate in sequence, starting with a point of beginning. The point of beginning could be a landmark or a point described based in the United States Public Land Survey System. Here’s an example of a metes and bounds description:
Metes and Bounds Legal Description
To see an example of how a metes and bounds description appears on an actual deed, see Sample Deed – Metes and Bounds.
Enter the legal description for the property. To find the legal description, look at the deed that conveyed the property to the current owner. For more information on how to locate and type a legal description, see What is a Legal Description of Real Estate?
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Information You Provide
Once they are recorded, deeds are a matter of public record. The information that we require to prepare the deed includes only the minimum amount necessary to identify the parties, the property, the preparer, and other elements. We anticipate that all of this information will become a matter of public record when the deeds are filed.
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