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Using a Beneficiary Deed May Avoid Some Estate Litigation

Jan. 31, 2018

When parents work hard to acquire their dream home, they may worry how to ensure their hard work will benefit their intended heirs. While there may always be a risk of one’s final wishes being contested, there are some measures that may help prevent certain estate litigation efforts. There are many tools available to New York residents that may ensure peace of mind.

One of those tools is a beneficiary deed. These deeds are executed in an effort to ensure that one’s home will wind up in the ownership of one’s chosen heirs. There are likely many parents who wish to convey the ownership of their home to their children upon their passing. However, choosing the wrong tool to do so can result in the home being stripped away from a parent or an heir.

If a regular quitclaim deed is selected, then the parent loses all rights to the home as soon as the deed is executed and recorded. This means the parent can no longer sell, refinance or renovate the property without permission from the chosen grantee. Furthermore, if the child were to claim bankruptcy at some future point, the home could be lost. In many situations, a beneficiary deed is a better choice as this instrument only becomes effective upon the death of the homeowner and can be revoked at any time. Furthermore, any subsequent deeds will automatically supersede any previously recorded documents.

These types of deeds are also referred to as transfer on death deeds. This type of instrument can accomplish the same purpose as a revocable living trust only in a more simplified manner, and it pertains only to the property listed. There are many ways that New York residents can convey their holdings to their chosen heirs, and no one method is suitable for every circumstance. One may be best served by consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney in order to avoid the possibility of any estate litigation.

Source:, “Deeds and probate avoidance“, Tamra K. Waltemath, Jan. 29, 2018