How to Disclaim a Beneficiary Deed in Arizona

by Tom Streissguth
A disclaimer allows you to refuse a bequest of property made through a beneficiary deed.

A disclaimer allows you to refuse a bequest of property made through a beneficiary deed.

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Since 2001, the state of Arizona has allowed property owners to sign and record a beneficiary deed conveying property directly to a named beneficiary upon the death of the grantor -- the property owner who signs the deed. The beneficiary deed allows a homeowner to pass property to his heirs without having to set up a trust or have the transfer go through probate. The property remains part of the estate and may be taxable as such, although it avoids gift taxes. In addition, anyone named as the beneficiary may disclaim it.

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Disclaimer of Interest

If you wish to disclaim a beneficiary deed in which you are named the beneficiary, you must sign and have notarized a disclaimer of interest form. This is a standard form available from a court clerk, attorney's office or online from numerous websites providing legal templates and fillable forms.

Time Limits

According to Arizona law, the disclaimer document must be filed within nine months of the death of the grantor if the beneficiary deed was created as a "testamentory instrument" -- meaning as part of a last will and testament. If the beneficiary deed was created under different circumstances, the beneficiary must still file the disclaimer within nine months of whatever event allowed him to take legal title to the property. If you were not aware of the beneficiary deed's existence and later become aware of it, you have nine months to file the disclaimer from the date you received notice of the deed.

Filing Requirements

Arizona requires the disclaimer to be filed in the county court where the probate case is taking place, or county where the estate is being administered if probate wasn't required. The beneficiary filing the disclaimer must provide it in person or by certified mail, with return receipt requested, to the personal representative of the deceased or executor of the will.

Disclosure

You must give the legal description of the property in the disclaimer. This legal description should be listed on the beneficiary deed. You must sign the disclaimer, have your signature witnessed or notarized and provide a copy to anyone else with an interest in the property, such as a mortgage lender. To ensure the disclaimer is legally recorded, you must provide a copy to the county recorder's office where the property is located. Once you file a disclaimer of interest, you may not revoke it. In addition, you cannot file a disclaimer if you have taken any benefit from the property, such as rent, or taken possession of the property.