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The importance of beneficiary deeds in estate planning

Posted on May 26, 2020

The death of a loved one is always difficult for those who have been left behind. Something that can make it more difficult is having to go through the legal processes to deal with real estate that was owned by the deceased.

If you want to help make this process easier for your loved ones, be sure to get a beneficiary deed as part of your estate planning. This will streamline the process and help ensure your final desires are carried out quickly and correctly.

Keep reading to learn more about why beneficiary deeds are an essential part of planning your estate.

What Are Beneficiary Deeds?

Also known as a “transfer on death” deed, a beneficiary deed is a legal document that causes a piece of real estate to be transferred directly to another person upon your death. This can be done in addition to writing a will for the rest of your possessions.

This type of deed also works if there are multiple property owners. In these cases, the property will be transferred upon the death of the last owner. This is assuming the remaining tenants have a right to survivorship.

Why Get a Transfer on Death Deed

Let’s dig into some of the reasons why you should get a beneficiary deed. Understanding these will help you decide if you should include it in your estate planning.

Avoid the Probation Process

The biggest advantage of using a beneficiary deed is that your loved ones won’t have to go through the probation process which can be difficult to do while mourning. It can also be a long process depending on how many assets you have and how many people are claiming to be heirs to those assets.

However, with a transfer upon death deed, there won’t be a need to go through this process for your real estate. Instead, your home or property will be put in your beneficiary’s name as soon as your death certificate is filed. This takes a lot of pressure off of your loved ones and the court system.

Fast Deed Transfer

As we already mentioned, your property will instantly transfer to your beneficiaries at your passing. This type of document is the fastest way to ensure your loved ones receive real estate from you as an inheritance.

Part of the reason this method is so fast is that death certificates are filed with the same county clerk’s office as the beneficiary deed. This helps to streamline the process required to complete the property transfer.

Flexibility for Heirs

If you want your loved ones to have the flexibility to do whatever they need or want to do with your property after your passing, the best way is with a beneficiary deed. it transfers ownership to the home to them so they will own it immediately and can do whatever they want with it.

It’s important to note here that this could cause some problems if you become incapacitated. While the property is in your name, your loved ones won’t be able to sell it to cover any medical expenses. If you have concerns about this, be sure to talk to a lawyer before moving forward with this type of deed.

Save Money on Fees

Something else to think about is how much the probation process may cost your loved ones. In some cases, it will take a chunk of the inheritance from them which can be frustrating to them and disappointing to you if you expected to be able to provide a large inheritance to them.

The easiest way to save on fees is to simply file the transfer on death deed. You only have to pay for the notarization of the deed and the filing fee. Both of these are far less expensive than the probation process.

How to Get a Beneficiary Deed

To get a transfer upon death deed, you need to sign a new deed that indicates who will receive the property upon your passing.

If you choose to do this yourself, be sure to check your state requirements before filing. Each state has specific requirements as to what the deed says. If a beneficiary deed has not been written up correctly, it won’t be valid and your loved one won’t automatically get your property.

Once you have listed any beneficiaries by name, you can sign the deed. You’ll need to do this in front of a notary public who will then notarize the document and you’ll also need any other property owners to sign the deed as well. This proves everybody is in agreement with the property transfer.

You can then take it to the county’s office where this type of document is filed and have it recorded. Once the clerk makes copies and processes it, you’ll get the original back which you’ll want to keep in a safe place. This is also when you’ll pay the recording fee.

If at any time you decide you want to choose a different beneficiary, you may do so by following this same process with the new heir. When you create a new document, all previous deeds are considered no longer valid. To be extra safe, you may also file a form to revoke the previous deed.

Alternatively, you can get a lawyer to help you with this process. They will ensure the deed is properly formatted and contains all of the necessary information. They’ll also be able to provide a notary public for you and know where the filing office is.

Need Help With Estate Planning?

Now you know why beneficiary deeds are a critical part of the estate planning process. As you can see, it’s easy to make a transfer on death deed to help your loved ones avoid the probate process and infighting after your passing.

If you need help putting your affairs in order, contact us today. We would be more than happy to help you ensure your last wishes are set up the right way so your family can focus on grieving rather than worrying about what to do with your estate.