A deed-on-death transfer is set up so that the beneficiary of the property does not take ownership of the property until the owner's death, subsequently eliminating the need for probate altogether, the American Bar Association reports. A deed on death is also known as a beneficiary deed.
A person who wants to appoint a beneficiary to pass down property to must execute and record the deed while he is still alive, the American Bar Association explains. The deed can be revoked by the owner by initiating a new deed or instrument of revocation. That document must then be recorded in order to be effective.
After the owner dies, the property is automatically transferred to the beneficiary, Nolo reports. Mortgage attached to the property also passes to the beneficiary. A beneficiary may be required to file a sworn statement acknowledging the death of the owner and also provide a certified death certificate, but the process is easier and faster than probate.
A deed on death provides a number of advantages, including the lack of gift tax, since the transfer is not considered a completed gift. It's a less expensive option than a trust or will, and the beneficiary has no interest in the property until the owner's death. This means the creditors of the beneficiary cannot reach the property.