Advantages to Beneficiary Deeds in Arizona

Question: In a recent article you had the opportunity to notify readers of the availability and advantages of a beneficiary deed, but you blew it by only adding it as an afterthought. You were addressing property in California and Montana also, which may not have the beneficiary deed option. I urge you to submit a follow-up article on the advantages and costs of a beneficiary deed for owners of real property in Arizona.

Answer: Thank you for your comments. First, the advantages of a beneficiary deed are that real property can be transferred after death without probate, and a beneficiary deed can be revoked at any time prior to death, e.g., you can record a beneficiary deed of your home to your son, but if your son later gets into gangs and drugs, you can record a revocation deed. The only cost of a beneficiary deed, or a revocation deed, is the County recorder’s fee. The Arizona beneficiary deed statutes even have sample forms for both a beneficiary deed and a revocation deed. A.R.S. §33-405(K and L). Second, a beneficiary deed (known in California as a “Transfer on Death Deed”) recorded in California would transfer the rental home, California Probate Code §5642; and a beneficiary deed recorded in Montana would transfer the 160 acres of land in Montana, MCA 72-6-121.

Note: Upon the death of the owner of the real property, a recorded beneficiary deed for the real property takes precedence over a conflicting transfer of the real property by the owner’s will.

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