If you wish to avoid estate planning, advisers may recommend California’s Transfer on Death Deed. Once you file this deed with the county, theoretically your properties will automatically transfer to named beneficiaries without probate. Since the forms associated with this transfer are inexpensive to record and fully revocable, the concept often feels like the answer to a prayer. Unfortunately, these transfers have many drawbacks.

What our Clients Say...
“Lightning fast response, I had my very simple document on the same day as my order for the very fair and reasonable price compared to my attorney who quoted me 3 weeks and $2500. I will definitely use these folks again and highly recommend them!”
L. Carnes
“I can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.”
M. Rice
“I am glad I chose A People’s Choice. They were very friendly and helped me with my documents in a very efficient way in very little time. Give them a try and you will be writing a positive review just as I did.”
D. Buelna
“A People’s Choice – Saved me time, money & hardship. The people are professional and a pleasure to work with, I totally recommend them to everyone! I will used them for all my legal documents in the future. Thank you!”
C. Lazalde
“I recently required the help of A People’s Choice, Inc. and found them to be entirely professional. Everything was done in short order yet all was explained to my satisfaction. They were friendly and courteous. I am happy and impressed.”
C. Zyobel
“Extremely satisfied with the performance of A People’s Choice. The communication was excellent and all was handled in a timely efficient manner.”
Pam T.
“Made the process so easy for me. Also VERY prompt replies through email. So glad I used their services.”
Kristina C.
“My wife and I needed to have some papers filed in court but found that traditional lawyers were quite expensive. They did a very professional job completing our paperwork and I might say, at a very reasonable price.”
D. Hileman
“The service provided by A People’s Choice was very professional and comprehensive. We have used A People’s Choice on a previous occasion and were completely satisfied. We would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”
R. Betancourt
“A People’s Choice is extremely customer orientated and friendly. Their service was fast and reliable. in the future, should I need their services again, I will not hesitate to call them. All e-mails were answered with either a phone call or e-mail sometimes even late at night”
Tar
“How much is peace of mind worth to you? This company of hardworking, caring individuals will help you get the job done in the quickest, most efficient way. Conveniently located. Check it out. Thank you!”
Diana K.
“We love A People’s Choice. It’s legally run and professional. Everyone has to have a recommendation and license. Highly recommended.”
Christy C.
“This company is excellent! They helped me get through all of my paperwork, submitted it to the court, and now everything is complete. Everything was clear and almost too easy. I saved thousands of dollars!”
Seth M.
“Very professional, excellent follow up and easy to work with. I will recommend them often! The staff rocks!”
Gene A.
“I had the opportunity to use A People’s Choice again, Wow doesn’t say enough for the way the staff was able to get me in and out and all my answers answered. Very Professional, Organized and Friendly. I highly recommend!”
Debbie E.
“I have worked with A People’s Choice since September 2013. They are very knowledgeable and experienced. Their work is done professionally and timely. They showed a real concern for my situation. I recommend you give them the opportunity.”
D. Echeverra
“A People’s Choice is awesome! They made the legal documentation process painless. I highly recommend A People’s Choice. The name says it all.”
Eric J.
“I was very happy with the service received. They were extremely responsive by phone and email and completed the document in less than 24 hours! All questions were answered promptly. I would highly recommend this service to anyone needing a legal document prepared!”
M.D.
“A People’s Choice is a great option to get legal documents prepared inexpensively. They offer a very professional, low cost service for all sorts of legal paperwork. You won’t be disappointed and will save lots of money as compared to using an expensive attorney!”
Kathryn R.
“A People’s Choice prepares legal documents so you can represent yourself and still look like you know what you’re doing. I utilized their services recently and found them to be professional as well as extremely helpful. I couldn’t be happier.”
Evan J.
“This team is efficient, professional, ethical and easy to work with. Any of my questions were responded to immediately. They did everything they could to help me. I highly recommend their services.”
Leigh A.
“Great service. Highly professional and efficient creating legal documents. I am completely satisfied and highly recommend them to others. People who are looking for professional legal services look no further, try A People’s Choice.”
Radtech N.
“A People’s Choice is a business that delivers what they promise. I was treated like a VIP by their staff and Sandy was the best. As for their services, they promptly delivered all of the official documents and fillings on my behalf and their price is more than reasonable.
Juan B.
“I was in need of some serious help and didn’t know what to do. I had contacted a lawyer and he wanted to charge me $1800.00. A People’s Choice got my paper work started and at a much lower cost. I am very grateful for the company’s services.
April R.
“I highly recommend A People’s Choice. The customer service and professionalism are exceptional. This service is only a fraction of the cost, more responsive, and better suited to quickly completing complicated court forms. “
Linda F.
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price. “
Sharon B.

Avoid the Pitfalls of California’s Transfer on Death Deed!

START MY ESTATE PLAN

…or continue reading the article below to learn more about the pitfall’s of California’s Transfer on Death Deed.

If your trusted estate planning professional recommended a Transfer on Death deed for your purposes, it might be the right thing to do. However, get this wrong, and you could have a tough time. “So what? I’ll be dead,” you might be thinking. However, your heirs will undoubtedly have to deal with the fallout. You could even end up losing your property long before you are deceased! A People’s Choice can prepare a Transfer on Death Deed if a customer absolutely demands this document.  With this in mind, however, the pitfalls of California’s Transfer on Death Deed outweigh the fragile benefits. As a result, short of executing a Transfer on Death deed in an emergency, it’s not a solution we recommend nor promote as an estate planning tool.

How California’s Transfer on Death Deed Works

When you file a Transfer on Death Deed with the county, you create an “early bird” scenario for your beneficiary(ies). When you die, the property can automatically transfer to that beneficiary. This can save a great deal of time and money for your grieving loved one.

California’s Transfer on Death Deeds will not work for many properties. In fact, you can use this strategy only if you are creating a deed for:

– a single-family home

– a condo unit

– farms of no more than 40 acres

– multi-unit buildings with no more than four units

Weak Points of the Transfer on Death Deed

Users pay for the simplicity of the Transfer on Death Deed. There are many things that you give up when you use this inheritance strategy. The deed becomes invalid if the named beneficiary dies before the property owner. There are no contingent beneficiaries, so it is relatively easy to invalidate a Transfer on Death Deed in these situations.

Transfer on Death Deeds also prevent management, sale, and borrowing against the property if the owner becomes incapacitated. For example, if a property is held in a living trust, the beneficiary could leverage that property to pay for long-term care for the owner. Transfer on Death Deeds do not permit this.

Children may be beneficiaries of this type of deed, but they cannot manage nor transfer the property until they turn 18. However, this type of deed does not allow the property owner to designate a custodian. As a result, when the owner dies, the court must appoint a custodian. This can be an expensive process that is needless in other scenarios. For example, in a living trust, the property owner names the custodian when the trust is created.

California’s Transfer on Death Deeds offer essentially no protection from creditors. Consequently, this leaves a beneficiary liable for the decedent’s unpaid debts. Oddly, insurance title policies are void once the deed is recorded. Further complicating matters, many title insurance companies will not issue title insurance on real property transferred using this method. They require a three-year waiting period. That means a beneficiary must hold the property for three years without selling it or borrowing against it.

This New Law Has Many Pitfalls

California’s Transfer on Death Deeds are relatively new. As a result, there is very little case law to guide the courts when a problem arises. These deeds are so easy to draft and record. Some legal experts fear they will make it very easy to take advantage of the elderly. At present, it is unclear how courts will establish undue influence and resolve it in this type of scenario.

As mentioned above, under California code, a beneficiary who inherits real property through a transfer on death deed is personally held liable for all of the deceased person’s debts, even if the debts had nothing to do with the property! This is alarming and should be the biggest deterrent to using the TOD as an estate planning tool. Because of this issue, title companies have been reluctant to issue title policies for any property that has been transferred under a Transfer on Death deed.

What does this mean? First, this means that the beneficiary will not be able to sell the real property for at least three years. Generally speaking, no one will want to purchase the real property if they cannot get a title insurance policy. Secondly, since title companies have shown an unwillingness to insure the home during these three years, the real property becomes unmarketable for the three years following the decedent’s death.

Equally important, if the real property owner creates a Transfer on Death deed and later becomes incapacitated, it is impossible to change the deed. This can create other problems if a beneficiary dies or there are changes in the family.

Finally, if California’s legislature doesn’t renew this law, the law will automatically terminate in 2021. That’s not far away. What happens if this statute is no longer valid law in California? Would all beneficiary deeds created and recorded before 2021 automatically become invalid? No one really knows, and it is certainly a risk many would not want to take.

The Risks of Simplicity

The simplicity of this type of transfer makes it very attractive to many people. Simplicity is great, and you can also avoid probate! Although this may be true, with simplicity comes many risks. In reality, there are few situations in which a Transfer on Death Deed will help you accomplish your goals. If you are debt-free, have only one property, and own few other possessions, it might work for you. However, your beneficiary must be able to hold that property three years before selling at least. If you meet all these requirements, there are still many unknowns with this type of transfer.

Contact A People’s Choice to discuss other estate planning options that don’t break the bank. Many other low-cost options in California can help you avoid probate, keep your costs down, and accomplish your estate-planning goals. We can help you prepare the necessary estate planning options to put your plan into action. Call us today at 805-648-5540.

Get help with your Legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!

GET STARTED!

Was this article helpful? We would love to know your thoughts! If you found this article helpful, please check the LIKE button below. Your feedback helps us plan topics for future articles.