How to Prepare a Transfer on Death Deed
Updated: Oct 26
In Oklahoma, a transfer on death deed, is a way you can transfer land upon your death, without going through probate. You can use a transfer on death deed to transfer any type of land interest, including surface, minerals, structures and fixtures. If you have executed a transfer on death deed, then, when you die, the grantee needs only to file a survivor’s affidavit, along with your death certificate, in the county clerk’s office. The grantee then immediately becomes the owner of the property.
However, after you have executed a transfer on death deed, you can revoke the transfer on death deed at any time. You also retain complete control of the property for as long as you are alive. Because a transfer on death deed allows you to transfer property in such a quick and painless manner, while still maintaining control of the property during your lifetime, a transfer on death deed is often an attractive option for people who want to plan their estate to avoid probate.
This is the first post in a two-part series on transfer on death deeds. In this post, I explain how to prepare a transfer on death deed, and how the beneficiary of a transfer on death deed can claim the property after you die. In next week’s post, I will tell how to revoke a transfer on death deed.
How to Prepare a Transfer on Death Deed
Fill out a transfer on death deed. The statute that shows how to create a transfer on death deed is available here. In this deed, write:
The name of the beneficiary (the person whom you want to receive your property after you pass away)
The legal description of the property you wish to transfer. You can find this legal description on the deed that transferred the property to you. If you are unsure of what the legal description of your property is, or how to find it, consult an attorney, an abstract company, or the county clerk’s office in the county where the land is located.
If you are married, your spouse must sign the deed as well, even if your spouse does not own an interest in the property. If you are not married you must state, in the deed, that you are not married.
I’ve created a pdf version of a transfer on death deed:
Fill in the blanks on this pdf form. After you have filled in the blanks on the transfer on death deed, sign the deed, and have your signature witnessed by two witnesses and a notary. You have now created a legally valid transfer-on-death deed. (Note: This is a basic form, that may not work in your particular situation. If you have any questions about how to properly prepare a transfer on death deed, consult an attorney.)
Then, take the transfer on death deed to the county clerk’s office in the county where the land it situated. File the deed in the county clerk’s office. There is a small filing fee (in Washington County, the filing fee is $13.00 for the first page, and $2 for every subsequent page). To find the address of the county clerk’s office in your county, click here.
If you own property in joint tenancy with another person, you may execute a transfer on death deed, but, when you die, title to the property will not transfer to the grantee, unless you die before all of the other joint owner(s). If you own property in tenancy in common with another person, you may execute a transfer on death deed, and, when you die, title to your share of the property will transfer to the grantee. To see the difference between joint tenancy and tenancy in common, click here.
Your rights after you have signed a transfer on death deed
After you have signed the transfer on death deed, you still have absolute rights as the owner of the property, and you may convey the property, or mortgage the property, to anyone you choose. Of course, if you execute a transfer on death deed, and then convey the property away, the beneficiary in the transfer on death deed will not take the property after you die.
How the beneficiary claims the property when you die
Within nine months of your death, the beneficiary must execute a survivor’s affidavit. This affidavit must state:
That you have died
Whether you and the beneficiary were married at the time of your death
The legal description of the property.
I’ve created a pdf version of a survivor’s affidavit. Download this form and fill it out:
If you are the beneficiary of property under a transfer-on-death deed, you may use this form to claim the property.
The beneficiary must file the affidavit, and death certificate, in the office of the county clerk where the land is situated. As soon as the beneficiary files this affidavit, he is now the record owner of the property; he does not need to do anything else.
However, when the grantee takes the property, his interest in the property is subject to any recorded conveyances, assignments, contracts, mortgages, liens and security pledges made by the record owner, to which the property was subject during the record owner’s lifetime.
If the transfer on death deed conveys property to more than one grantee, and one or more of the grantees die before the death of the grantor, then the surviving grantee(s) take the property on the death of the grantee owner.
Do you need a transfer on death deed?
A transfer on death deed is one of many estate planning tools that you can use to avoid a costly and time-consuming probate. If you are still unsure about whether a transfer on death deed is right for you, speak to an attorney today.