Legal Consultation | Deed vs. Will

Does a Beneficiary Deed Supersede an Arizona Will?

A common question an estate planning attorney hears in a legal consultation is whether a beneficiary deed supersedes an Arizona will. The simple answer to this question is yes, but additional insight is needed to fully analyze the topic.

Beneficiary Deed vs. Will

An Arizona beneficiary deed is a legal instrument used in an estate plan to pass real property from one person to another upon the point of death. As such, property controlled by an Arizona beneficiary deed will not go through the probate process, allowing the property transfer to take immediate effect upon the decedent’s passing. A cleverly crafted will is also a mechanism by which property is transferred without the need for probate.

That said, if a will and a beneficiary deed contradict one another with respect to a given property, the beneficiary deed will supersede the will. This means that a beneficiary deed will take legal precedence over a will in the event of a conflict. However, a beneficiary will only supersede the will assuming the beneficiary deed is validly executed. This reality reinforces the importance of having a legal consultation and planning your estate with an Arizona estate planning attorney who will help you craft a valid beneficiary deed.

For a beneficiary deed to be valid, the deed must be:

  • Signed
  • Notarized
  • Recorded Prior to the Death of the Grantor

Unlike other deeds that take effect without being recorded, it is essential that you record the deed with your local county recorder office. Once this process is completed, you will have a valid beneficiary deed that transfers immediately upon a decedent’s passing.

Fowler St. Clair provides our Arizona clients with trusted advice from our team of Arizona estate planning attorneys. Contact our team to receive a legal consultation to receive the answers to your Arizona estate planning questions.