A Missouri beneficiary deed allows owners of Missouri real estate to transfer their property to an individual or entity at the time of their death without a will, trust or any other estate planning. The beneficiary deed is recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds for the County where the property is located. However, unlike other transfer deeds, a beneficiary deed is drafted in a manner so that it does not become effective until the last owner of the property has died. Chapter 461 of the Missouri Revised Statutes contains the law that allows for beneficiary deeds.
A beneficiaries deed is also commonly used within a complete estate plan to transfer the real estate into a trust at the death of the last owner. A trust is an extremely important part of an estate plan that provides control over the distribution of property and can minimize estate taxes. In order for a trust to function, the property must be placed into the trust. However, placing real estate directly into a trust while the owners are living may eliminate a protection Missouri law provides to real estate owned by married couples known as “tenants by the entirety.” Utilizing a Missouri beneficiary deed in conjunction with a complete estate plan allows the real estate owners to realize the benefits of a trust and maintain the protection provided by Missouri law.