Transferable on Death (“TOD”) Real Property

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.