Another Missouri Beneficiary Deed Failure

We’ve written and posted several times about the inherent dangers in relying on Beneficiary Deeds (also known as “Transfer on Death Deeds”) to transfer title in Missouri.

Beneficiary Deeds, in the proper circumstances, present a very inexpensive and efficient method of transferring real estate upon death.  The problem is the relative ease and low cost lead people to use them when they clearly shouldn’t.

This time I’m representing a young mother, let’s call her Diane.  Diane separated from her husband, George, about 4 years ago, but never got divorced.  George has failed to pay the required child support for their children.

Lo and behold George’s grandmother died leaving her house to George and his two sisters via a Beneficiary Deed.  George, needing the money, along with his sisters are now trying to sell the house.  However, until Diane signs off they will be unable to do so.  In Missouri, even if a spouse’s name is not literally on the deed, the spouse acquires a “Marital Interest” in the property, and must be dealt with.

This is fortunate for Diane.  She’s going to be able to get some of the money George owes to her.  We suspect George’s grandmother would not be happy about this development.  I’m going to look like a hero.

Had Grandma used a Trust based plan this could be avoided.

Let us know if you want to know more about the dangers of using Beneficiary Deeds in Missouri.


  1. charles byers on July 6, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Transfer on Death Deed – Beneficiary Deed Missouri, How sound is this if the seller is found unable in the old age? And can his blood line come back on me when I am not related?

    • Rick on July 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

      I’m not clear what you mean by “if the seller is found unable in the old age”. First, this is not a sale – it is a transfer on death. Secondly, and I assume this is the root of your question – if the owner(s) are competent when they execute the deed and are not improperly influenced to sign the document it is valid. Those in the “bloodline” have no rights to challenge, nor does anyone else.

      However, this illustrates the point that I was trying to make in this post. Beneficiary Deeds in Missouri are great tools when used appropriately, but are not always the best way to go. Real Estate transactions are commonly among the largest we make during our lifetimes. Get competent legal advice before trying to do it yourself.

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