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How do you transfer title to your home after you die?  In most instances, property can only be transferred through a trust or the probate process.  As I’ve discussed previously, probate is usually not the desired approach as it takes time and money.  You can put your property into a trust, but if that is your only significant asset, the cost and complexity may not be very appealing.  Some people just add their children to the title while they are living.  However, such an action is unwise as it amounts to a gift of an interest in real property which may be subject to gift tax.  In addition, the property becomes subject to the child’s creditors, thereby putting the homeowner at risk of a foreclosure.

These problems can be avoided in states which have enacted transfer-on-death deeds.  In Nevada and twelve (12) other states (Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Montana, Minnesota, Indiana and Oklahoma) a property owner can transfer real property by executing a transfer-on-death deed, known as a Deed Effective Upon Death in Nevada.   In such a deed, the owner lists a beneficiary or beneficiaries in a deed and records that deed while living.  The benefit of the deed is that is effective immediately upon death, transferring ownership upon presentation of a certified copy of the owner’s death certificate.  This means that the property does not go through probate and it is not available to pay the owner’s creditors.  These deeds are also revocable, so that the owner can refinance or sell the property, or change the beneficiary at any time.

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