Beneficiary Deed

A Beneficiary Deed* is a real estate deed which expressly states that the deed is not to take effect until the death of the owner; and, transfers the owner's interest in real property, upon the owner’s death, to the beneficiary or beneficiaries named on the deed. (The legal definition of real property is land and the buildings on it.)

A Beneficiary Deed is typically created to avoid the probate process as they present a very inexpensive and efficient method of transferring real estate upon death if, and only if, used in the proper circumstances. A Beneficiary Deed must be used appropriately, and is NOT always the best way to go. 

Real Estate transactions are commonly among the largest financial transactions individuals make during their lifetimes.  The problem is that the relative ease and low cost of a Beneficiary Deed lead people to use them when they clearly shouldn’t. 

Get competent legal advice before deciding whether a Beneficiary Deeds is right in your particular set of circumstances.  However, if you use a Beneficiary Deed when it is not appropriate, you could experience costly and unintended consequences.

Other facts regarding Missouri Beneficiary Deeds:

  1. The deed may be amended by the Grantor in the form of a new Beneficiary Deed being created and properly recorded.
  2. The deed may be revoked by the Grantor in the form of a revocation being created and properly recorded.
  3. By law, the deed will terminate upon the sale of the real property by the owner.

To be effective, a Missouri Beneficiary Deed must be properly recorded with the local County Recorder of Deeds office prior to the death of the owner. This deed does not modify the owner’s current interest in the real property and it does not transfer such interest to the named beneficiaries until the owner’s death.

The deed may be created and recorded by the owner even though there may be a loan securing such real property and there is no requirement that the lender be notified that such a deed exists.

Contact an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm St. Louis today for a free consultation to discuss the options that are available to you.

*Per Missouri Revised Statute 461.025.1  “A deed that conveys an interest in real property to a grantee designated by the owner, that expressly states that the deed is not to take effect until the death of the owner, transfers the interest provided to the designated grantee beneficiary, effective on death of the owner, if the deed is executed and filed of record with the recorder of deeds in the city or county or counties in which the real property is situated prior to the death of the owner. A beneficiary deed need not be supported by consideration or be delivered to the grantee beneficiary. A beneficiary deed may be used to transfer an interest in real property to a trust estate, regardless of such trust's revocability.”