When people in Florida think about how to plan for the future, some may consider the use of unrecorded deeds in order to transfer property. For example, parents may give their child the deed to their home and agree to not have it recorded until the parents pass away. There is no time limit that prevents a deed being recorded, even years after it was issued. However, while this technique was used in the past as a way to transfer property and make an estate plan, there are modern options that can help people plan their estates without the uncertainties introduced by unrecorded deeds.
First, as deeds are paper documents, they are always at risk of being misplaced, damaged or even discarded. If the deed was not recorded, there is no longer any proof of the original document's existence, and the danger can be significant if the deed is expected to go unrecorded for decades. In addition, because title does not change until the deed is actually recorded, the grantor retains ownership and can sell or mortgage the property in that time. This may make it difficult for the recipient to later obtain a clear title.
However, there are other options to allow people to transfer their homes after their death without going through probate. A transfer-on-death deed allows the owner to retain title to his or her home throughout a lifetime while naming beneficiaries to receive title to the home after death.
People who are considering how best to pass on their assets to their loved ones may be unaware of different options that can give them peace of mind and make their beneficiaries' lives easier. An estate planning attorney may help people create key documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney that set in place a clear plan for the future.