February 2016

Assembly Bill 139 – NEW LAW: “Transfer on Death” Deed Avoids Probate

Blend Real EstateEach new year brings new laws. Not just to California, but everywhere.

This new California law is an excellent one that became effective January 1, 2016.

Assembly Bill 139 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2015 for an effective date of 1/1/2016. It is set to automatically stop on January 1, 2021, unless the State Assembly keeps updating it and/or re-passing it.

It should and probably will continue, since this one single bill allows homeowners to solve a costly problem: “Who gets your house when you die?”

If you die without a will and you own a home, or even if you have a will and it’s contested, this solves all of those potential problems. And you control it now!

You, as a homeowner, can sign and record at your county recorder’s office a document call the Revocable Transfer Upon Death Deed (RTDD). Automatically, upon your death, the property you own is transferred to the person named in your RTDD.

The property can be anything described as 1-4 units, a condo, or agricultural land up to 40 acres.

The RTDD you file can also be revoked by you if you change your mind. You would simply file a revocation document at the county to rescind your RTDD. Then you could file a new RTDD if you choose.

To be valid, the RTDD has to be filed at the county within 60 days of you signing it and having it notarized. You can’t stick it in a file or a drawer — not good enough. Filing fees vary by county, but the San Diego County Recorder charges about $10 per page. You pay the clerk at the counter who “records” it for you. It can also be done by mail. This is a one – two page document. And it must include the property “legal description” of your home, which I can help you get, if you need help.

The RTDD only becomes effective upon the death of the person filing it and once filed, it does not affect any property rights of the filer during his or her lifetime.

It’s not hard!

This completely eliminates probate or family squabbles about “who gets the house” upon death. Your will could perhaps specify that the receiving party must also sell the home within X months and divide proceeds among X recipients, that sort of thing.

Obviously speak to an estate attorney on these specifics, as I am not an attorney nor is this legal advice. The purpose of the form is for you, the homeowner, to decide who gets your property and you decide now, in your happy lifetime.

This is really beneficial for the senior citizen who doesn’t have a lot of money to create a trust or will. It is valid and legit. It is simple. That’s why the law passed easily.

RTDD — look into it! And how can I help you with your home today or in the future?

Kimberly Dotseth, broker/owner

Blend Real Estate

(858) 291-8110



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Photo copyright: Kimberly Dotseth, Blend Real Estate 2007 – 2016

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