As of January 1, 2016, California allows the use of a “transfer on death” deed for real property. A TOD deed essentially allows a person to execute and record a revocable deed, which grants real property to a beneficiary upon the grantor’s death. Introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) via AB 139, the TOD is effective by operation of law, the primary purpose of which is to avoid the probate process (which is onerous and expensive in California) and to reduce the need for a revocable trust for certain individuals.
San Bernardino County has posted a sample form.
While the TOD deed may be useful in limited circumstances, it does not supplant the importance of having a revocable trust plan for many individuals.