When you own a property in Washington and want to leave it to a loved one after your death, one way to do so involves something called a transfer-on-death deed. A way to leave your home behind to someone without listing it in a will, the transfer-on-death deed offers several notable benefits.
According to the Washington State Legislature, the deed gives you the ability to transfer your home to a designated beneficiary, or to one or more beneficiaries, right after your death. Otherwise, the property may end up having to go through probate, which may lead to significant delays and financial implications.
Understanding how the transfer-on-death deed works
To make your transfer-on-death deed valid, you must sign it in the presence of a notary and file it with the county recorder’s office. As long as you are living you maintain sole control over the property listed in the deed. The person to whom you plan to transfer the property does not have to sign the deed itself. Once you die and the property transfers to your beneficiary, he or she also assumes responsibility for any mortgage or debt that may exist for it.
Revoking the transfer-on-death deed
As long as you are living, you maintain the right to change your mind at any time and revoke the transfer-on-death deed. To do so, you have several options. You may sell the property. You may also record a new transfer-on-death deed designating your new beneficiary. You may not, however, revoke the transfer-on-death deed by updating the contents of your will.