Transfer on Death Deeds – Revised California Law

The law on transfer on death deeds was set to expire this year. Instead, it was revised, and the law will stay in effect until 2032. A transfer on death deed allows an individual to pass their real property onto a beneficiary after they die without the expense of a probate or a trust. Transferrable real estate includes most condominium interests and residential properties with four or fewer dwelling units.

While this procedure does avoid red tape and expenses, the availability of those deeds can be a financial elder abuse trap for the vulnerable or cognitive challenged older adult. Although the changes to the law now require the signature of two disinterested witnesses, I have seen many brainwashed older adults transfer property to another after that individual has convinced them that they are the appropriate recipients. Often, they foster a belief system that their natural heirs are unworthy. The requirement that the transferers signature on the deed be notarized remains in effect, but notaries do know if someone has been unduly influenced into transferring their property unless the perpetrator is there breathing down the older adults whose hand is shaking from fear when they sign. Elder abusers are usually more savvy having groomed their victim over time.

Like with a trust or a will, there will still be an opportunity to challenge the deed as the heirs must receive a notice of the deed, the deed and the death certificate. The beneficiary must record the affidavit verifying notice to the heirs. If you receive a notice and you believe that there was elder abuse or undue influence involved, call an attorney immediately as there is a limited amount of time to mount a challenge.