Questions and Answers About
Transfer-on-Death (Beneficiary) Deeds


Please note:  The following answers are based on our search of various law, estate planning, and county recorder websites.  Although we believe the answers are correct, we do not guarantee their accuracy.  They should not be considered legal advice.  Also, the applicability of an answer would depend on individual circumstances.



Q: On a transfer on death deed form, can I just fill in the blanks in handwriting?

A: If you look at actually recorded deeds at county recorder offices, some deeds have a word here or there struck out and corrected by hand, but almost none are completely filled in by hand.  Some county recorders allow recording of only  typewritten documents.


Q:  Where can I find the legal description of my property?

A:  It is usually shown on the deed you received when you obtained the property. If you canít find that deed, you can request a copy from your county recorder.


Q:  How do I have a transfer on death deed recorded?

A:  You can take the deed to the county office that records legal documents (county recorder, register of deeds, etc.)  Usually you can just mail the deed to the recorder along with the fee and they will mail it back to you after recording it.  You can call the office and get the details.


Q:  When I die, what must the beneficiary do to take over ownership of my property?

A:  The websites we have searched say that when you die the ownership of the property automatically transfers to the beneficiary without anyone doing anything.   The beneficiary would want to make sure tax records, insurance, etc. are updated.  The county may need to see a death certificate to update the tax records. The county can search their document index to view a copy of your transfer on death deed. 


Q:  When I die, how will the beneficiary know that I named them as beneficiary?

A:  They probably will not know unless you have told them.



Q:  If there is a mortgage on my property, will my beneficiary take over that mortgage?

A:  After your death, the beneficiary and the lender will need to work out some arrangement for repaying the debt.  (This also happens when a property is transferred by a Will.)