Revocable Transfer on Death Deeds
Government Code § 27281; Probate Code §§ 5600, 5608, 5624, 5626, 5632, 5642, 5644, 5652, 5660, 5674, 5682, 5690, 5694, 5605, 5615, 5618, 5625, 5658, 5659, 5677, 5678, 5681, 5698, 5676, and 5610
The only way to convey property to an heir prior was through a trust or a will; however, a Revocable Transfer on Death Deeds (RTODD) now provides a more accessible and cost-effective means. California enacted a five-year pilot program for RTODDs in 2015, in which the amendment enacts the California Law Revision Commission's recommended changes and extends the end date for RTODDs until January 1, 2032.
The revisions provide various defined terms, require deeds and revocations to be signed and notarized by the transferor along with two witnesses, and require that the beneficiary serve notice on the transferor’s heirs upon their death. The Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association argued against the amendment, stating that while the safeguards are necessary, they undermine RTODDs by making the process far more complex. Their argument included that it will deter their use or require legal advice, contrary to the intent that RTODDs be simple and useful for the average person.
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