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Preparing a Transfer on Death Deed

This checklist gives brief instructions on steps to take to prepare a Transfer on Death Deed.  Click on each step to expand it with more information.

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Step 1 - Obtain copy of existing deed

Obtain a copy of your existing deed from the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located.

Step 2 - Choose beneficiaries

Decide on your primary and alternative beneficiaries.

  • The primary beneficiary is the person or persons (you can list more than one) who you want the property to pass to. An alternate beneficiary (you can list more than one) can be named in case the primary beneficiary does not survive you. Listing an alternate beneficiary is recommended, but not required.
Step 3 - Fill Out

Prepare your transfer on death deed. 

  • With the Transfer on Death Deed Project at the Transactional Legal Assistance program, a legal aid organization or a private attorney can prepare a transfer on death deed for you. You can also do it yourself, but you must follow all instructions very carefully.
Step 4 - Sign

Sign the transfer on death deed in front of a notary.

  • One common place to find a notary is your local bank.
  • You must present identification such as a driver’s license or passport in person in order for a notary to complete the notarization.
Step 5 - File

File the deed at the county clerk’s office. 

  • File deed in the county clerk’s office where the property is located.
  • The clerk will charge a fee. Typical filing fees are $24 to $26 for the first page and $4 for each page thereafter.