Deed TransferCalifornia’s new transfer on death deeds (“ToD deeds”) allow for the transfer of real estate upon the occurrence of death without the need for costly estate planning or probate administration. Codified at California Probate Code section 5600 – 5696, the new mechanism may fill a void in the array of estate planning options, but it is not likely to catch on with traditional estate planning attorneys for the reasons discussed below.

Fresno attorney Mark Poochigian presented a thoughtful and at times critical assessment of ToD Deeds at a Sacramento County Bar Association luncheon in June. At the Summer Education Conference of the California State Bar Trusts and Estate section, only one of the more than one hundred attorneys in attendance acknowledged having prepared one of these new deeds since the law went into effect on January 1, 2016.