How to Keep Homes Out of Probate

Probate, the process of verifying and administering wills, can tie up assets for months (or longer), possibly adding to loved one’s stresses in the aftermath of a death.

The good news, however, is that there can be various ways to avoid probate – including for major assets like homes.

Transferring Homes Outside of Probate: Helpful Answers

Since September 2015, Californians have been able to transfer home deeds to surviving loved ones via transfer-on-death deeds (or TOD deeds), effectively allowing homes to bypass probate and directly be transferred to a beneficiary.

Shedding more light on this aspect of estate planning and probate avoidance, the following answers some common questions about TOD deeds for homes.

Q – What are the benefits of using TOD deeds?

A – In addition to the benefit of probate avoidance, other advantages that can be realized via TOD deeds include (and may not be limited to):

  • Being able to change TOD deed beneficiaries throughout your lifetime.
  • Transferring real estate or homes without any tax consequences and with minimal expense (when compared to the administrative costs associated with trusts and probate).
  • Protecting the property from a beneficiary’s creditors (as the beneficiary won’t have any interest in the property until the owner’s death).

Q – Are there any drawbacks to using TOD deeds?

A – There can be if or when people use these devices without the help or oversight of an attorney. That’s because, without a lawyer’s guidance, it’s far more likely that costly mistakes, such as (but not limited to) the following, will occur:

  • Failing to name a secondary, tertiary, etc. beneficiary – This is important in case the first beneficiary passes away before the property owner.
  • Naming a different beneficiary for the property in a will or trust document – This can complicate matters and may lead to will contests or other costly court disputes.

Q – Can TOD deeds be revoked?

A – Yes, at any point during the property owner’s lifetime, a TOD deed can be changed or revoked by executing a new TOD deed (naming a new beneficiary) or by recording an instrument of revocation.

Get More Answers Now: Contact the Santa Clarita Attorneys at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman

For experienced help developing, administering or settling an estate plan (or probate case), contact the trusted Santa Clarita attorneys at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman.

For more than three decades, our skilled estate planning and probate attorneys have been dedicated to providing superior representation and service to our clients, helping them protect their legacies and advance their interests.

Set up an appointment today with our Santa Clarita attorneys by calling (818) 946-2056 or by filling out the contact form on this page. When you meet with us, you can receive clear, straightforward answers and information regarding your best options for estate planning, probate, etc.

From offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to clients throughout the Santa Clarita, San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, and the greater Los Angeles area.