New California Revocable Transfer On Death Deeds – The Good – The Bad And Abuse

California Revocable Transfer On Death Deeds – see the video immediately below, and the primary text for the video at the bottom of this post. Thank you. Please pass this information to other people who would be interested.

P.S., and another “bad” passed along by a friend on LinkedIn – the transferred property might be (most likely is) subject to recovery by Medi-Cal to reimburse the state for expenses paid by Medi-Cal for care during the transferor’s life – in other words, use of the revocable transfer on death deed might not be (most likely isn’t) wise Medi-Cal planning. But I don’t believe many people will be aware of that. The ability to transfer property by way of the revocable transfer on death deed also is not available for all types of property – that is, for some properties the use of the deed is not available. Everyone using or potentially using the revocable transfer on death deed needs to be aware of all of the options available including when it might be used, when it cannot be used, and the results of both. My recommendation: seek knowledgeable legal counsel.

Dave Tate

Text: California Revocable Transfer On Death Deeds

Hello, I’m Dave Tate. I’m a civil and trust, estate, conservatorship and elder abuse litigation attorney. I practice in San Francisco and throughout California. I also represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in administrations.

This discussion is about the new California revocable transfer on death deed. You can find additional information on my blog at http://californiaestatetrust.com.

You may have heard that California now recognizes a new revocable transfer on death deed for transferors who die on or after January 1, 2016. There are statutory requirements however. And here are a few of them.

The deed must appropriately identify the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

The transferor must sign and date the deed and have the deed acknowledged before a notary public.

The deed must be recorded on or before 60 days after the date that is was executed.

The transferor must have the mental capacity to contract.

If the deed is still valid and not revoked or otherwise overruled or superseded by another document, on the death of the transferor the property passes to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries without probate.

I expect that the revocable transfer on death deed will become a popular estate distribution transfer tool if the public is extensively educated about its availability and use.

The deed is promoted as an opportunity to transfer real property on death without having to incur the costs of having a will or trust prepared, or probate. That’s the opportunity for good.

On the other hand, the deed also presents opportunities for mistake and elder abuse.

The validity and operation of a revocable transfer on death deed are subject to statutory rules and requirements. Very importantly, these are rules and requirements that can be misunderstood, resulting in mistakes and unintended consequences.

As you might imagine, use of the deed also presents issues relating to intent and transferor lack of mental capacity, and opportunities for undue influence, fraud, duress, and elder abuse by family members, friends and third parties.

The validity of the deed can be contested. And I do expect that there definitely will be contests. So we will be seeing how these new revocable transfer on death deeds are used and abused.

That’s it for now. There are of course other cases and statutory provisions that can apply, and the facts of each situation are different. This discussion doesn’t constitute legal advice. You need to consult a lawyer or professional for your situation. You can find more information on my blog at http://californiaestatetrust.com. Thanks for listening.

P.S., please see also the comment above at the top of this blog post about recovery of the property to reimburse Medi-Cal for expenses paid, and that the ability to transfer property by way of the revocable transfer on death deed also is not available for all types of property – that is, for some properties the use of the deed is not available. Everyone using or potentially using the revocable transfer on death deed needs to be aware of all of the options available including when it might be used, when it cannot be used, and the results of both. My recommendation: seek knowledgeable legal counsel.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco / California)

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