Will Maryland Adopt the Transfer on Death Act?

Transfer on deathMaryland Uniform Real Property Transfer-on-Death Act, if it ever gets passed into law, would allow owners of real property located in Maryland to record deeds that transfer such property to one or more individuals effective upon the death of the owner. Known as a transfer on death deed, this instrument does not transfer any interests until the owner’s death. The owner can change his or her mind and even sell the property.

The purpose of a transfer on death deed is to convey the property immediately upon passing to avoid having to wait through the probate process. Keep in mind this is different than a deed held jointly with a right survivorship. That too passes the property immediately and does not need to go through probate, but the joint owners have a valid real estate interest prior to death.

Transfer on death instruments are relatively new, and Maryland has not enacted this law as of this writing. The Maryland legislature and various title insurance companies are trying to work through some problems they see may arise if the Act becomes law.

Here are a few other important notes about transfer on death deeds:

  • They can be revoked: You can create a new transfer on death deed that replaces the original or simply record a revocation form.
  • The debt goes with the property: If you still owe money on your mortgage or if any liens are placed on the property, your beneficiary will inherit these liabilities.

If the Act is enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor, Maryland residents will gain a new means of passing real property directly to a beneficiary at death without the trouble and expense of probate. We are continuing to watch for updates. For current information, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.