This provides a simple way to transfer California real estate at death without having to go through California probate. (Probate Code §5600, et seq.) The way to look at this is it is a “Transfer-On-Death Deed ” NOT a transfer during life deed. It only applies to residential properties and must be promptly recorded after it is notarized. This document is exempt from documentary transfer tax under Rev. & Tax. Code §11930. This document is exempt from preliminary change of ownership report under Rev. & Tax. Code §480.3.
For the specific requirements and a sample, click here:
Residential Property Only – The property transferred by the TOD Deed must be (a) property that includes a structure with at least one—but not more than four—dwelling units; (b) a condominium; or (c) agricultural property of less than 40 acres with a single-family residence. TOD Deeds cannot be used to transfer commercial real estate or other non-residential property.
- Valid Legal Description – The property must be identified by a proper legal description. Not just the common or street address
- Legal Capacity – The owner must have legal capacity to enter into contracts. This requires that the owner be at least 18 years old and be capable of understanding the consequences of the TOD Deed.
- Signed, Dated, Notarized, and Recorded Within 60 Days – The TOD Deed must be signed, dated, and notarized (acknowledged by a notary public). It must also be recorded in the land records of the county where the property is located within 60 days of the date it is signed.
- Identify Beneficiaries by Name – The deed must identify the beneficiaries by name. A designation of beneficiaries by class is not effective. That means, for example, that a homeowner cannot leave the property to “my children in equal shares.” Instead, the deed must list each child by name.
- Specific Statutory Form – California law does not allow any deed form to qualify as a TOD Deed. All TOD Deeds must be in substantially the same form required by California law, and drafters may not add custom conditions to the form. To ensure that the deed will be respected, it is important to follow the specific form specified in the California statutes.
- Here is a sample form. Simple revocable transfer on death (TOD) deed Transfer on Death Deed (Chicago Title)