1. The Grantor of a Beneficiary Deed is the current Owner of the real property. In the event the real property is owned by more than one individual and one of those individuals has died prior to a Beneficiary Deed being created the surviving Owner has the ability to create and properly record an Affidavit as to Death of Owner (see the Affidavit Request page on this website) and then may create and properly record a Beneficiary Deed.
2. The Grantee of a Beneficiary Deed is the individual to whom the Owner desires to transfer such real property upon the Owner's death. The Grantee is the beneficiary of such transfer and there may be more than one Grantee.
3. In the event a Grantee predeceases the Grantor and is a direct lineal descendant of the Grantor then the Grantee's lineal decendants shall "take the place" of the deceased Grantee and be entitled to such interest. If the Grantor desires not to have the Grantee's lineal descendants take such share then the Grantor should include the designation "no LDPS" (no lineal descendants per stirpes) after the name of the Grantee at the time the deed is created. In such case, the deceased Grantee's share shall lapse and instead will be equally divided and allocated to the surviving Grantee(s).
4. In the event a Grantee predeceases the Grantor and is not a direct lineal descendant of the Grantor then the deceased Grantee's interest terminates by law unless the designation "LPDS" (lineal descendants per stirpes) has been added after the name of such Grantee at the time the deed is created.
5. In the event the Grantor desires to name more than one Grantee beneficiary then the Grantor will want to set forth in the the Beneficiary Deed the manner in which such Grantees will hold title upon the death of the Grantor and the transfer of ownership of the real property to the Grantees. The Grantor may set forth the Grantees will hold title either as Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship or as Tenants in Common.
(i) If the Beneficiary Deed sets forth after the death of the Grantor the Grantees shall hold title as Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship and one of them should die during their ownership of the real property, then the surviving Grantee(s) shall receive such deceased Grantee's interest. Equal shares are required for the creation of a Joint Tenancy.
(ii) If the Beneficiary Deed sets forth after the death of the Grantor the Grantees shall hold title as Tenants in Common and one of them should die during their ownership of the real property, then the deceased Grantee's interest shall transfer according to such Grantee's estate plan. As a result, such interest is not transferred to the surviving Grantee(s) and in most cases, will transfer according to the deceased Grantee's Last Will & Testament thereby requiring probate administration. The probate process may be avoided for a Tenant in Common interest in real property if a Grantee (and now the owner) of such interest creates and properly records a Beneficiary Deed for such interest. Equal shares are not necessary for the creation of a Tenancy in Common.
6. A Beneficiary Deed must be signed by the Grantor in the presence of a Notary Public and then properly recorded with the local County Recorder of Deeds office (where the real property is located). A Beneficiary Deed must be recorded to become effective under Missouri law. The Grantee does not sign such deed.
7. The Grantor may walk into the local County Recorder of Deeds office to have a Beneficiary Deed recorded directly or may mail the Beneficiary Deed to such office with the approriate fee and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The fee charged by a local County Recorder of Deeds office to record a Beneficiary Deed averages between $24 and $30. The Grantor should contact the local County Recorder of Deeds office to inquire as to the current fee charged. Upon recording the deed the Recorder of Deeds office will mail the original to the Grantor.
8. If a Grantor decides to change or modify a current Beneficiary Deed (e.g. due to a Grantee predeceasing the Grantor) then the Grantor may create and and properly record a new Beneficiary Deed. In such case, the new Beneficiary Deed will terminate the previous Beneficiary Deed. However, it may be wise for the Grantor to create and properly record a Revocation of the previous Beneficiary Deed prior to creating and properly recording the new deed.
9. Upon the death of a sole Grantor or the death of the last surviving of multiple Grantors, title ownership of the real property immediately transfers by law to the named Grantee. At such time it is recommended the Grantee create and properly record an Affidavit as to Death of Grantor (see the Affidavit Request page on this website) with the local County Recorder of Deeds office. The recording of such Affidavit will update the public real estate records for such real property. Such Affidavit will eventually be required if and when the Grantee sells such real property. If the Grantee decides to retain ownership of the real property for any period of time then it would be wise for the Grantee to create and properly record a Beneficiary Deed for such newly acquired ownership interest.
10. The provisions relating to the creation and implementation of a Beneficiary Deed in the State of Missouri are set forth in Chapter 461.025 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.