Missouri is one of a few states that allow residents to avoid probate with their home by recording what is called a beneficiary deed. This document allows an owner of a property located in the state to record a document in the county where the property is located, transferring a deceased owner’s interest in the property to the beneficiaries named in the document.
In order to be effective, however, the deed must be recorded prior to the last death of the owners of the property (called the “grantors”).
Once recorded, the beneficiary deed does not modify the current owner’s interest in the property. It is not an immediate transfer of the property to the named beneficiary.
An additional aspect of the beneficiary deed in Missouri is that it can still be recorded even though the property may be subject to a mortgage. It does not act as a “cloud on title” and therefore not imperfect title when the property is sold. If the property is sold prior to the death of the owners, the recorded beneficiary deed has no effect and is a void document.
Beneficiary deeds in Missouri my be amended by the owner by filing a new beneficiary deed or revoked by filing a revocation.
Since avoiding probate is a central goal for nearly every estate plan, the beneficiary deed is a very powerful tool and we are lucky that they are statutorily approved in Missouri.
The beneficiary deed is part of nearly every estate plan completed for clients of Legacy Law Center. We not only draft and review the document with our clients, we also secure their signature and notarize it. We then record the document by mail.
We also a flat fee of $175 to prepare a beneficiary deed for a client and the recording is $25. This includes drafting, review, obtaining signature, recording and return of the document to the client after recording.