Star-Advertiser: ‘Transfer on Death Deed’ (11/6/15, 11/12/15)

Updated 11/12/15
An attorney can help draft a ‘Transfer on Death Deed’

By Christine Donnelly
Kokua Line, Star- Advertiser, 6 Nov. 2015

Question: A new Hawaii law (Act 173) was enacted in July 2011 allowing homeowners to transfer a property (i.e., house) to their beneficiaries using a “Transfer on Death Deed.” Such a transfer, using this document, avoids a lengthy probate and high cost. Does the state of Hawaii have this form? If not, where can we get this form?

Answer: No, the state of Hawaii does not issue standard real-estate deed forms, said Nicki Ann Thompson, registrar of the Bureau of Conveyances, which is the division of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources that records titles to real property statewide.

She suggested that you hire a knowledgeable real-estate attorney, estate planner, business adviser or other qualified expert to draft this important document. That way the deed, which must be recorded before your death in order to be valid, will meet your specific needs, as well as the legal requirements of Hawaii’s Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act, which, as you noted, took effect in 2011 as Act 173.


Senator Shimabukuro introduced this bill, SB105. For more on this act, see How to Pass Your Home On to Your Heirs Affordably and Update Re: Bill Introduced by Sen. Shimabukuro (SB105).

The law allows a real property owner “to designate beneficiaries to receive real property upon death of owner without requirements of probate or formalities of wills,” according to the bill summary at the time the legislation passed.  Continue reading