Payable on death (“POD”) accounts and transferable on death (“TOD”) securities are creatures of statute. Are these methods available for real property as well?
The good news: Yes, as long as the real property is located in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, or Ohio, where their legislatures have provided for Transfer on Death Deeds (also known as a “Beneficiary Deeds”). See, for example, Arizona Beneficiary Deed.
The bad news: No, if the real property is located elsewhere, such as in Washington. Exception: Community Property subject to a Community Property Agreement.
In Washington, real property held as either:
- Separate property (whether by an unmarried or married Decedent), or
- Community property not subject to a Community Property Agreement —
CANNOT be transferred by a TOD or Beneficiary Deed & is probably the #1 cause of probate proceedings: To transfer its title.
In these cases, the primary purpose of a probate is to appoint a Personal Representative who then has the authorityto make a Personal Representative’s Deed — the effective equivalent of a TOD Deed.
See, however, Administering Real Property by Affidavit.