Understanding the Beneficiary Deed Process
The proper filing of paperwork to effect a beneficiary deed is imperative. The homeowner must take the following steps in order to have the property transfer on death to the appropriate beneficiary:
- A deed would be prepared by an attorney or by the homeowner specifying the beneficiary;
- The deed would be signed by the homeowner and then properly notarized;
- The deed would be recorded with the proper authorities (registrar of deeds or country land records office).
The beneficiaries of a transfer on death or beneficiary deed do not need to be informed of the deed recording unless the homeowner wishes to inform them. Appropriate beneficiaries include a sole owner, multiple owners, any legal entity including trusts or businesses or the trustees of a trust agreement.
It is critical to note that the advantage of a beneficiary deed is that it is revocable, meaning that it can be withdrawn by the homeowner at any time. This is not the case when using a quitclaim deed or other type of deed for transferring ownership of a property.
Claiming a Transfer on Death Property
For the beneficiary of a transfer on death property to claim the property after the death of the owner, the following documents may be required (it is important to check with the appropriate authorities to determine what documents that are required since each jurisdiction may have their own requirements):
Certified Death Certificate - Certification by the town or municipality where the death certificate is filed;
Affidavit of Identity and Survivorship - Each jurisdiction may have their own form. This form states the survivors name, decedents name as well as the date of death. This document will require a notary to validate the information;
Certification of Lien Releases - There may also be additional documents required by the county or state that show that the original property owner was not indebted for any form of public assistance or other indebtedness.
The required documents would then be filed with the registrar of deeds or county land office where the property is located. Most beneficiary deed transfers will not require the involvement of an attorney.