Assembly Bill 288 takes effect on January 1, 2024 to:

  • amend the rules for what type of property owners may use Revocable Transfer on Death (TOD) Deeds; and
  • clarify the outcome when a Revocable TOD Deed conflicts with another recorded instrument.

Revocable TOD Deeds are a low-cost way to transfer one-to-four unit property upon a homeowner’s death. They do not apply to residences located on agricultural parcels greater than 40 acres.

A one-to-four unit residential property owner uses the Revocable TOD Deed when establishing a beneficiary to take title to the property upon their death. The Revocable TOD Deed allows the property owner to:

  • identify the beneficiary;
  • describe the residential property to be transferred; and
  • record the TOD deed with the county. [See RPI Form 411]

To create a Revocable TOD Deed, the owner needs to:

  • possess the capacity to contract;
  • name the beneficiary;
  • sign and date the Revocable TOD Deed in the presence of a notary; and
  • record the Revocable TOD Deed within 60 days of its signing before a notary. [Calif. Probate Code §5620-5624]

Related article:

Enhance your practice and become a notary public

The new law authorizes the transfer of real estate by Revocable TOD Deed even when ownership might not normally be evidenced or transferred by use of a Revocable TOD Deed.

In addition to covering owners of one-to-four unit residences, it will also authorize the transfer of an interest in a stock cooperative by Revocable TOD Deed.

Editor’s note — A stock cooperative is a type of common interest development (CID) which is owned by a corporation formed for the express purpose of owning the CID. Instead of holding title to any portion of the development, owners in the development own “stocks” which entitle them to the use of a portion of the development — namely, their housing unit.

Sometimes, a Revocable TOD Deed and another legal instrument — typically another deed — conflict. Until the new law takes effect, the Revocable TOD Deed prevails over other deeds when the other deed is not recorded within 120 days after an affidavit of death is recorded for the property owner.

However, when another deed is recorded within 120 days, then the later executed deed prevails. Yet, when the other deed is irrevocable and recorded within those 120 days, that irrevocable deed is effective.

The new law simply states that when a Revocable TOD Deed conflicts with another revocable deed, the later executed deed prevails. But when the conflicting deed is irrevocable, then it prevails over the Revocable TOD Deed.

Related Form:

Form-of-the-Week: Transfer on Death Deeds — Revocable Transfer and Revocation — Forms 411 and 411-1