Recently there has been a movement in California to revise the state's Beneficiary Deeds laws. One reason for the movement may be that most lay persons in California are unaware of the Revocable Deed or do not understand how the Revocable Deed works.
Options for Passing Real Property Upon Death
California allows you to pass your real property to your beneficiaries in a number of different ways. Among the ways property can be passed are: (1) Life Estate Deed, (2) Will or Intestate Succession, (3) Intervivos Trust, (4) Joint Tenancy, (5) Community Property, (6) Intervivos Transfer with Reserved Life Estate, (7) Revocable Deed a/k/a Lady Bird Deed, and (8) Conveyance Pursuant to Non-Probate Transfer. This post deals specifically with the Revocable Deed a/k/a Lady Bird Deed a/k/a Enhanced Life Estate Deed.
The Validity of the Revocable Deed in California
California has recognized the validity of the Revocable Deed from as far back as 1914 (see Tennant v. John Tennant Memorial Home, 167 Cal. 570) and as recent as 2002 (see Bonta v. Burke, 8 Cal. App. 4th 788).
Before you support a change in California’s Beneficiary Deeds laws check out my posts referenced above on the Revocable Deed a/k/a Lady Bird Deed a/k/a Enhanced Life Estate Deed. You will likely find that California already recognizes the type of real property transfer you are looking for.