Amended in Assembly May 4, 2016

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1779

Introduced by Assembly Member Gatto

February 3, 2016

An act to amendbegin delete Sections 5608 and 5642 of, and to add Section 5629 to, the Probate Code,end deletebegin insert Section 21 of Chapter 293 of the Statutes of 2015,end insert relating to nonprobate transfers.


AB 1779, as amended, Gatto. Nonprobate transfers: revocable transfer on death deed.

Existing law, until January 1, 2021, creates the revocable transfer on death deed (revocable TOD deed), as defined, which allows an owner of real property to transfer that property, upon death, to a beneficiary without a probate proceeding, according to specified rules. Existing law sets forth the statutory forms that must be used by a transferor in the execution of a revocable TOD deed.begin insert Existing law requires the California Law Revision Commission to study and make recommendations regarding the revocable TOD deed to the Legislature by January 1, 2020.end insert

This bill wouldbegin delete clarify that a beneficiary of a revocable TOD deed may include an entity, such as a trust. The bill would further provide that a revocable TOD deed may be held in trust for a beneficiary under specified circumstances. The bill would make conforming changes to related provisions.end deletebegin insert additionally require the California Law Revision Commission to study whether it is feasible and appropriate to expand the revocable TOD deed to include specified transfers, including transfers to a trust.end insert

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: begin deleteno end deletebegin insertyesend insert. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 21 of Chapter 293 of the Statutes of 2015
2is amended to read:end insert


SEC. 21.  

(a) The California Law Revision Commission shall
4study the effect of California’s revocable transfer on death deed
5set forth in Part 4 (commencing with Section 5600) of Division 5
6of the Probate Code and make recommendations in this regard.
7The commission shall report all of its findings to the Legislature
8on or before January 1, 2020.

9(b) In the study required by subdivision (a), the commission
10shall address all of the following:

11(1) Whether the revocable transfer on death deed is working

13(2) Whether the revocable transfer on death deed should be

15(3) Whether the revocable transfer on death deed is subject to
16misuse or misunderstanding.

17(4) What changes should be made to the revocable transfer on
18death deed or the law associated with the deed to improve its
19effectiveness and to avoid misuse or misunderstanding.

20(5) Whether the revocable transfer on death deed has been used
21to perpetuate financial abuse on property owners and, if so, how
22the law associated with the deed should be changed to minimize
23this abuse.

begin insert

(6) Whether it is feasible and appropriate to expand the
25revocable transfer on death deed to include the following:

end insert
begin insert

(A) The transfer of stock cooperatives or other common interest

end insert
begin insert

(B) Transfers to a trust or other legal entity.

end insert

29(c) (1) The report required by subdivision (a) shall comply with
30Section 9795 of the Government Code.

31(2) Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this
32section is repealed on January 1, 2024.

begin delete


Section 5608 of the Probate Code is amended to

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“Beneficiary” means a person named in a revocable
2transfer on death deed as transferee of the property. A “beneficiary”
3may include a legal entity, such as a trust.


SEC. 2.  

Section 5629 is added to the Probate Code, to read:



A transferor may specify that any property interest that
6is transferred to a beneficiary by deed under these provisions may
7be held in trust on behalf of the beneficiary by any other person
8designated by the transferor, subject to specified conditions
9established by the transferor, if any.


SEC. 3.  

Section 5642 of the Probate Code is amended to read:



A revocable transfer on death deed shall be substantially
12in the following form.

13(a) The first page of the form shall be substantially the




(California Probate Code Section 5642)


Recording Requested By:

When Recorded Mail This Deed To



Assessor’s Parcel Number:       Space Above For Recorder’s Use


This document is exempt from documentary transfer tax under Rev. & Tax. Code § 11930. This document is exempt from preliminary change of ownership report under Rev. & Tax. Code § 480.3.



Use this deed to transfer the residential property described below directly to your named beneficiaries when you die. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY READ ALL OF THE INFORMATION ON THE OTHER PAGES OF THIS FORM. You may wish to consult an attorney before using this deed. It may have results that you do not want. Provide only the information asked for in the form. DO NOT INSERT ANY OTHER INFORMATION OR INSTRUCTIONS. This form MUST be RECORDED on or before 60 days after the date it is signed and notarized or it will not be effective.



Print the legal description of the residential property affected by this deed:




Print the FULL NAME(S) of the person(s) who will receive the property on your death (DO NOT use general terms like “my children”) and state the RELATIONSHIP that each named person or entity has to you (spouse, son, daughter, friend, trust, etc.) and, if the property will be held in trust for that beneficiary or beneficiaries, the circumstances under which the property will be held in trust:






I transfer all of my interest in the described property to the named beneficiary(ies) on my death. I may revoke this deed. When recorded, this deed revokes any TOD deed that I made before signing this deed.

Sign and print your name below (your name should exactly match the name shown on your title documents):





NOTE: This deed only transfers MY ownership share of the property. The deed does NOT transfer the share of any co-owner of the property. Any co-owner who wants to name a TOD beneficiary must execute and RECORD a SEPARATE deed.




A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.


State of California


County of    



On ___________________________ before me, (here insert name and title of the officer), personally appeared ___________________________, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

Signature ___________________________ (Seal)

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13(b) Subsequent pages of a form executed under this section shall
14be in substantially the following form:




WHAT DOES THE TOD DEED DO? When you die, the identified property will transfer to your named beneficiary without probate. The TOD deed has no effect until you die. You can revoke it at any time.

CAN I USE THIS DEED TO TRANSFER BUSINESS PROPERTY? This deed can only be used to transfer (1) a parcel of property that contains one to four residential dwelling units, (2) a condominium unit, or (3) a parcel of agricultural land of 40 acres or less, which contains a single-family residence.

HOW DO I USE THE TOD DEED? Complete this form. Have it notarized. RECORD the form in the county where the property is located. The form MUST be recorded on or before 60 days after the date you sign it or the deed has no effect.


HOW DO I FIND THE “LEGAL DESCRIPTION” OF THE PROPERTY? This information may be on the deed you received when you became an owner of the property. This information may also be available in the office of the county recorder for the county where the property is located. If you are not absolutely sure, consult an attorney.

HOW DO I “RECORD” THE FORM? Take the completed and notarized form to the county recorder for the county in which the property is located. Follow the instructions given by the county recorder to make the form part of the official property records.

WHAT IF I SHARE OWNERSHIP OF THE PROPERTY? This form only transfers YOUR share of the property. If a co-owner also wants to name a TOD beneficiary, that co-owner must complete and RECORD a separate form.

CAN I REVOKE THE TOD DEED IF I CHANGE MY MIND? Yes. You may revoke the TOD deed at any time. No one, including your beneficiary, can prevent you from revoking the deed.

HOW DO I REVOKE THE TOD DEED? There are three ways to revoke a recorded TOD deed: (1) Complete, have notarized, and RECORD a revocation form. (2) Create, have notarized, and RECORD a new TOD deed. (3) Sell or give away the property, or transfer it to a trust, before your death and RECORD the deed. A TOD deed can only affect property that you own when you die. A TOD deed cannot be revoked by will.

CAN I REVOKE A TOD DEED BY CREATING A NEW DOCUMENT THAT DISPOSES OF THE PROPERTY (FOR EXAMPLE, BY CREATING A NEW TOD DEED OR BY ASSIGNING THE PROPERTY TO A TRUST)? Yes, but only if the new document is RECORDED. To avoid any doubt, you may wish to RECORD a TOD deed revocation form before creating the new instrument. A TOD deed cannot be revoked by will, or by purporting to leave the subject property to anyone via will.

IF I SELL OR GIVE AWAY THE PROPERTY DESCRIBED IN A TOD DEED, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DIE? If the deed or other document used to transfer your property is RECORDED before your death, the TOD deed will have no effect. If the transfer document is not RECORDED before your death, the TOD deed will take effect.

I AM BEING PRESSURED TO COMPLETE THIS FORM. WHAT SHOULD I DO? Do NOT complete this form unless you freely choose to do so. If you are being pressured to dispose of your property in a way that you do not want, you may want to alert a family member, friend, the district attorney, or a senior service agency.

DO I NEED TO TELL MY BENEFICIARY ABOUT THE TOD DEED? No. But secrecy can cause later complications and might make it easier for others to commit fraud.

WHAT DOES MY BENEFICIARY NEED TO DO WHEN I DIE? Your beneficiary must RECORD evidence of your death (Prob. Code § 210), and file a change in ownership notice (Rev. & Tax. Code § 480). If you received Medi-Cal benefits, your beneficiary must notify the State Department of Health Care Services of your death and provide a copy of your death certificate (Prob. Code § 215).

WHAT IF I NAME MORE THAN ONE BENEFICIARY? Your beneficiaries will become co-owners in equal shares as tenants in common. If you want a different result, you should not use this form.

HOW DO I NAME BENEFICIARIES? You MUST name your beneficiaries individually, using each beneficiary’s FULL name or name of the entity. You MAY NOT use general terms to describe beneficiaries, such as “my children.” For each beneficiary that you name, you should briefly state that person’s relationship to you (for example, my spouse, my son, my daughter, my friend, my trust, etc.).

WHAT IF A BENEFICIARY DIES BEFORE I DO? If all beneficiaries die before you, the TOD deed has no effect. If a beneficiary dies before you, but other beneficiaries survive you, the share of the deceased beneficiary will be divided equally between the surviving beneficiaries. If that is not the result you want, you should not use the TOD deed.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF A TOD DEED ON PROPERTY THAT I OWN AS JOINT TENANCY OR COMMUNITY PROPERTY WITH RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP? If you are the first joint tenant or spouse to die, the deed is VOID and has no effect. The property transfers to your joint tenant or surviving spouse and not according to this deed. If you are the last joint tenant or spouse to die, the deed takes effect and controls the ownership of your property when you die. If you do not want these results, do not use this form. The deed does NOT transfer the share of a co-owner of the property. Any co-owner who wants to name a TOD beneficiary must complete and RECORD a SEPARATE deed.

CAN I ADD OTHER CONDITIONS ON THE FORM? No. If you do, your beneficiary may need to go to court to clear title. However, you may indicate whether you will be transferring your property to a beneficiary to be held in trust for that person pursuant to Section 5629 of the Probate Code.



HOW DOES THE TOD DEED AFFECT PROPERTY TAXES? The TOD deed has no effect on your property taxes until your death. At that time, property tax law applies as it would to any other change of ownership.


AFTER MY DEATH, WILL MY HOME BE LIABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE STATE FOR MEDI-CAL EXPENDITURES? Your home may be liable for reimbursement. If you have questions, you should consult an attorney.

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end delete