Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form – Summary

The Missouri beneficiary deed form allows property to be automatically transferred to a new owner when the current owner dies, without the need to go through probate. It also gives the current owner retained control over the property, including the right to change his or her mind about the transfer.

Special language is required to ensure that the deed qualifies as a beneficiary deed. This language is automatically included by our deed preparation service and valid in all Missouri counties. Get Deed

How a Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form Works

What is a Missouri Beneficiary Deed?

A Missouri beneficiary deed form—also known as a Missouri transfer-on-death deed form or simply Missouri TOD deed form—is a written document that transfers real estate at an owner’s death. It works in much the same way as a POD or TOD designation on a bank account. The owner retains complete control over the property during life. The owner can sell the property or change the beneficiary designation without involving the beneficiary. At the owner’s death, the property passes to beneficiary without the need for probate. The Missouri beneficiary deed is authorized by the Nonprobate Transfers Law of Missouri.

Under the default rules of the Missouri statute, a beneficiary does not inherit under a beneficiary deed unless he or she survives the owner by at least 120 hours. If the beneficiary is a descendant of the owner (for example, a child or grandchild), then the property will pass to the deceased beneficiary’s descendants (if any). These default rules can be changed by language on the deed. Our online deed preparation service provides options to customize the way that deceased beneficiaries are treated.

Other Names for a Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form

Although the authorizing statute does not require a specific name, the statute uses the term beneficiary deed to refer to a deed that transfers property at death, making Missouri one of a handful of states—including Arizona, Arkansas, and Colorado—that use this term to refer to this type of deed. Most other states use the term ­transfer-on-death deed or TOD deed to refer to the same type of instrument. Because the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act also uses the term transfer-on-death deed, it is more common than the term beneficiary deed.

Although a beneficiary deed serves many of the same purposes as a lady bird deed, the two documents have different legal origins and work in different ways. Lady bird deeds are not used in Missouri. A Missouri beneficiary deed form is usually the best option for a deed that transfers Missouri real estate at death.

Benefits of a Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form

A Missouri beneficiary deed form has several important benefits that make it a popular estate planning tool for avoiding Missouri probate. These benefits include:

  • Probate Avoidance – Property transferred by Missouri beneficiary deed passes outside of the probate process. There is no need to hire a lawyer, open a probate proceeding, or file anything at the courthouse. The cost and hassle of probate are completely
  • Retained Control During Life – An owner that makes a Missouri beneficiary deed keeps complete control over the property during life. He or she can sell or mortgage the property without notifying the beneficiaries. The owner can also freely change or revoke the beneficiary designation.
  • Local Tax and Legal Benefits – Because the Missouri beneficiary deed form does not become effective until death, the property continues to qualify for any local tax and legal benefits during life, including Missouri homestead exemption or other favorable property tax statuses.
  • Federal Tax Benefits – Because an owner that makes a Missouri beneficiary deed can revoke the TOD deed, the property is not considered to be a completed gift for federal tax purposes. As a result, no gift tax is owed when the deed is signed. The property remains in the owner’s estate and qualifies for a basis adjustment (basis step-up) at the owner’s death. The property also continues to qualify for the federal home sale exclusion.
  • Savings in Legal Fees – Many benefits of a Missouri beneficiary deed form can also be obtained by deeding property to a living trust. But a properly drafted living trust usually requires the assistance of a lawyer and can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. Living trusts are also more complex to fund and administer. A Missouri beneficiary deed form avoids this legal hassle and expense.
We make it easy to create your own Missouri TOD Deed. Just complete our user-friendly interview and our software will create a custom, ready-to-file Missouri TOD deed that includes the right language based on choices you make in the interview. We also include customized, step-by-step instructions for completing the real estate transfer. Documents are delivered instantly. Get Deed

Requirements for a Missouri Beneficiary Deed Form

Unlike some states, Missouri does not have a statutorily approved TOD deed form. A Missouri beneficiary deed form must generally meet all of the requirements that apply to other types Missouri deeds, including a valid legal description, page format requirements, and legally sufficient notary acknowledgments. The Nonprobate Transfers Law of Missouri also includes two requirements that apply specifically to beneficiary deeds:

  • The deed must clearly state that it does not take effect until the death of the owner and transfers the interest to the beneficiary on the death of the owner; and
  • The deed must be executed and filed with the recorder of deeds in the city or county of the property where the property is located prior to the death of the owner.

Unlike some other types of deeds, a Missouri beneficiary deed need not include a statement of consideration and need not be delivered to the beneficiary. The deed is valid when signed, notarized, and recorded as required by law.

Missouri Beneficiary Deeds and Multiple Owners

It is not uncommon for multiple owners—most often married couples—to own Missouri real estate. If two or more joint owners hold title jointly with right of survivorship and make a beneficiary deed, the deed does not become effective until the death of the second owner. On the death of the first owner, the property passes to the surviving owner. On the death of the surviving owner, the property passes to the designated beneficiaries.

A beneficiary deed may also transfer property to multiple beneficiaries. If the deed names multiple beneficiaries that survive the owner, the beneficiaries will take title without a right of survivorship. On the death of one beneficiary, his or her interest will pass to his or her probate estate instead of passing to the surviving beneficiary or beneficiaries. The Missouri statute allows the deed to change this result by creating a right of survivorship in the beneficiaries.

How to Create a Missouri Beneficiary Deed

Missouri beneficiary deeds are authorized by statute and must meet the requirements of the authorizing statute to be valid. These requirements include special language to ensure that the deed is properly characterized as a beneficiary deed that takes effect at death (and not an outright transfer of the property). The deed must also meet most requirements that apply to other Missouri deed forms.

It is important to get the deed format and language right. Even minor differences in language can have significant legal consequences. The deeds created by our online deed preparation service were attorney-designed to meet the requirements of the Missouri transfer-on-death deed laws and the laws that apply to general real estate transfers. Each deed is designed to eligible for recording in all Missouri counties.