October 2014 Bar Bulletin
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October 2014 Bar Bulletin

What Every Attorney Should Know about Washington Transfer on Death Deeds

By Amber Quintal


(Second of two parts)

Part One of this article in last month's Bar Bulletin covered making, amending and revoking transfer on death (TOD) deeds.

Effect on Death of Transferor

If the transferor owns the property subject to the TOD deed at his death, the property interest is transferred, by operation of law, in accordance with the TOD deed to the designated beneficiaries who survive the transferor by at least 120 hours.1 If there is more than one beneficiary, each beneficiary receives an equal and undivided interest in the property without the right of survivorship.2

If a designated beneficiary's share lapses or otherwise fails, that beneficiary's share is transferred proportionately to the other designated beneficiaries whose shares have not lapsed or failed.3 A beneficiary may disclaim the interest in the property passing pursuant to the TOD deed within nine months of the transferor's death.4

Even if it contains a contrary provision, a TOD deed transfers property without covenant or warranty of title.5 In addition, the beneficiaries take the property subject to all encumbrances, including any contracts, mortgages, liens and other interests to which the property is subject at the transferor's death.6

For this purpose, the TOD deed is deemed to have been recorded at the transferor's death. The property is also subject to the claims of the transferor's creditors, and income and transfer taxes, and the Washington Department of Social and Health Services may file liens against the transferred property within 24 months of the transferor's death for any long-term-care assistance the transferor received.7

Effect on the Death of the Transferor: Concurrent Ownership

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