California's Revocable Deed a/k/a Enhanced Life Estate Deed

A number of people who visit this blog from California have asked me why they cannot find references to the California Enhanced Life Estate Deed in their state. The reason is a matter of semantics. You see, in California the Enhanced Life Estate Deed is called a Revocable Deed. The two deeds share essentially the same functions. Those functions are described in my posts Estate Planning and the Enhanced Life Estate Deed and The Difference Between the Enhanced Life Estate Deed, Warranty Deed and Quitclaim Deed.

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.
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