A Beneficiary Deed is a document signed and notarized by the owner of a property directing that ownership will pass to specified individual(s) upon their death. It provides A Beneficiary Deed allows for a non-probate transfer of real property at death. This can avoid probate for an estate where the only asset of significant value is real estate, such as a home.
The owner retains full rights of ownership during his/her life, and the beneficiary has no legal rights to the property until the owner’s death. The owner can revoke the Beneficiary Deed and/or record a new Beneficiary Deed to supersede the prior one. On the owner’s death, the most recently filed Beneficiary Deed controls and the interest in the real property vests in the named beneficiary subject to any interests affecting title to the real property. The beneficiary will take the property with an adjusted basis of the value of the property at the time of the owner’s death.
There is a four-month period of time for which the beneficiary must hold the property pending any claims against it. Please be aware that a Beneficiary Deed may complicate Medicaid assistance and should be considered carefully in the event that Medicaid assistance is being sought. In that case, a consultation with an Elder Law attorney should be considered.