The last thing anyone wants to think about after a loved one has died is how their property will be divided. Unfortunately, this is very much the reality. Depending on the situation, carrying out someone’s last wishes may take months and even years. This is extremely frustrating for families, especially when they need to obtain the property immediately.
Arizona Beneficiary Deeds Explained
In an effort to assist families in receiving property from a deceased loved one faster, the Arizona Legislature has passed A.R.S. § 33-405. This law lays out the guidelines and requirements for a Beneficiary Deed. A Beneficiary Deed is simply a legal instrument that allows an individual to leave any real estate to a family member or other party in a deed, rather than a will.
Previously, an individual could only transfer property to a loved one in one of three ways:
- during their lifetime through a deed
- in a will at their death
- in a trust during their life or at their death
Each one of these options could involve various legal, personal, and tax issues.
Avoiding Probate with a Beneficiary Deed
The Arizona Beneficiary Deed Law allows you to avoid the possibly lengthy probate process. It allows you to sign and record a deed, during your lifetime, that transfers real property to one or more people upon your death.
Unlike a normal deed, this transfer of property will not occur automatically – it will only occur upon your death. You can revoke the deed at any time and you can still do anything with the property without any restrictions. Unlike a trust, the owner of the property actually maintains control of the property rather than a Trustee.
For example, if you own your home, you can sign and record a beneficiary deed that transfers your home to your children automatically upon death. As long as the deed has not been revoked or the property sold, your children will receive your home immediately upon your death.
It is important to note, however, that the value of your home will be attributed to your entire estate for tax purposes, so you don’t escape tax liability completely. However, your children will not have to wait until the probate proceedings have concluded to receive your home.
Planning Your Estate in Arizona
The Arizona Beneficiary Deed is one more mechanism for you to consider in planning your estate. They don’t work in every situation, but they can be extremely helpful to some families. To discuss whether an Arizona Beneficiary Deed will work for your family, we invited you to call us at (480) 464-1111.
Our experienced, compassionate legal team can help you find the best legal options for you and your family – and minimize your cost in the process. Call us to schedule a consultation today.