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Skip Probate for Your Property with a Transfer on Death Deed

February 23, 2017

It’s been just over a year since California Law, AB139 went into effect, allowing property owners to save money (and future hassle) by filing a Transfer on Death (TOD) Deed with the State. If you have not reviewed this as an option for you and your family, it may be worth a closer look. RealtyTimes, a great resource for real estate news and education, published an informative article just before the law went into effect, an easy to follow guideline and simple QA about the California TOD Deed.

In short, if a qualified property owner wants to save money and time to complete the transfer of a deeded property to someone after they pass away, they can do so by filing a TOD form with the State of California. Under normal circumstances, probate is required before any property can change hands legally. This is regardless of the existence of  a will, or property trust; and especially so for the worse-case scenario of no plans being set forth prior to a person’s death

Probate is the complex, time-consuming process of settling an estate through court to ensure all properties and assists of a deceased person are taken care of appropriately. Even with a will, loved ones will have to go through the process of probate before property titles are changed to the new owner.  This can take up to a year or more to complete, keeping loved ones lives on hold. But now, with a TOD, certain property owners can bypass this process, deeding their home or land to a specific person via the Transfer on Death Deed form.

Specific types of property owners can file a TOD form. The property must be either a hammer-1281735_640single-family home or up to 4 unit residential dwelling units, or a condominium. Any agricultural property with a single-family property on 40 acres or less of land may also qualify. It is important to note that a TOD is revocable at any time prior to death, and that there is no transfer of property allowed before that passing of a property owner.

This California Law’s main goal is to provide property owners with a quicker, less costly way to transfer ownership upon their death to a person of their choice. This is especially beneficial to anyone whose property is their main asset, or in cases where the cost of having a trust is exorbitant. It is also very advantageous to any unmarried property owner, as it allows for any person of the owner’s choice to be named on the TOD.

You can read all the details of the California Law AB 139 at the website, including any posted updates.*  When you are ready to sell your property, you want a Realtor® who understands local and state real estate regulations and laws, so she can put her expertise to work for you. With attention to detail, your Realtor® can make a positive difference in the home-selling process. My team and I are ready to help you from start to finish. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at

*This post is in no way meant to provide any legal advice. Before making any legal decisions, an attorney should be consulted.

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