Since 2011, property owners in Nevada have been able to transfer real property at death with a transfer on death deed that was recorded prior to death. After the death, the beneficiary named in the deed merely files an Affidavit of Death of the Grantor along with a death certificate and, voila, the beneficiary now holds legal title to the property. No time-consuming and costly probate to deal with.
When the law was originally enacted, beneficiaries could easily sell the property even though the law allows the deceased owner’s creditors to seek payment of debts against the property by filing a lawsuit within 18 months of death. Over the years, however, title companies have become more and more unwilling to issue a title insurance policy if the sale is attempted within 18 months of death unless there is a court order authorizing the sale. Title companies fear that a creditor may sue them if they insure property that was sold within 18 months of death. As a result, beneficiary’s are unable to sell the property requiring the beneficiary to continue paying mortgages and taxes for an extended period of time.
The Nevada legislature appears to be bowing to pressure from title companies who want more security. Beneficiary’s will now have to publish notice to creditors and then wait 90 days before selling the property. If a creditor comes forward, it’s claim must be satisfied at or before the time of sale. In addition, the beneficiary must obtain a written waiver of claim from the Department of Health and Human Services concerning any lien against the property for Medicaid provided to the decedent during his or her lifetime.
Unfortunately, a title company is not required to recognize the notices to creditors as adequate. If they do, then they are not liable for any claims. However, a title company can still require a probate of the property before issuing a title insurance policy.
Fortunately, there are other ways to transfer real property at death without probate. Anyone who has recorded, or is considering recording, a transfer-on-death deed in Nevada should speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.