Arizona is one of the states that authorizes a Beneficiary Deed to convey property at death. The law is found at Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 33-405. How does it work? Essentially, the deed allows the grantors, after all grantors are deceased, to convey title to real property in Arizona to named beneficiaries without having to go through a Will or Trust. The process is completed at the county’s recorder office, not a probate court or by a successor trustee of a trust. Any beneficiary deed must be recorded in the county of the location of the real property to be effective.
The definition by statute is: “A deed that conveys an interest in real property, including any debt secured by a lien on real property, to a grantee beneficiary designated by the owner and that expressly states that the deed is effective on the death of the owner transfers the interest to the designated grantee beneficiary effective on the death of the owner subject to all conveyances, assignments, contracts, mortgages, deeds of trust, liens, security pledges and other encumbrances made by the owner or to which the owner was subject during the owner’s lifetime.”
If the title to real property includes the right of survivorship, the deed must state that it becomes effective to convey title upon the death of the last survivor. A beneficiary deed may be used to transfer an interest in real property to the trustee of a trust — even if the trust is revocable.
The statute states that a beneficiary deed may designate multiple grantees who take title as joint tenants with right of survivorship, tenants in common, a husband and wife as community property or as community property with right of survivorship, or any other tenancy that is valid under the laws of this state. Unless the beneficiary deed provides otherwise, the interest in real property conveyed by a beneficiary deed is the separate property of the named grantee beneficiary and is not community property. Moreover, a beneficiary deed may designate a successor grantee beneficiary and express the condition that must occur to allow the successor grantee to take title.
A beneficiary deed may be revoked at any time by the owner or, if there is more than one owner, by any of the owners who executed the beneficiary deed. The revocation must be recorded to be effective.