Avoiding probate can save time, money, and aggravation for your heirs. There are several ways to avoid probate. If you have real estate and want to transfer it to a beneficiary without going through the probate process, the best way may be with a transfer on death deed.

What a Transfer on Death Deed Does

Essentially, a transfer on death deed (TODD) is a beneficiary designation for real estate. It conveys real estate to one or more “grantee beneficiaries.” It is like a payable on death designation on a bank account. The beneficiary only takes ownership upon the death of the owner.

The grantee beneficiary is the person to whom the property is being conveyed. It can be people or an entity, like a revocable living trust or business. A TODD is specific to the piece of real estate that is described in the deed. This means that a TODD is needed for each piece of real estate that you own.

This also means that if you record a TODD for real estate that you own now, and you buy additional real estate in the future, you need to record new TODDs for the additional real estate.

Risks and Problems with Using a TODD

There are some potential risks to using transfer on death deeds. As with any type of deed, it is extremely important that you have an accurate and complete legal description for the property. Without it, the deed may not be effective.

Additional risks come from transferring real estate to more than one grantee beneficiary.

These risks include:

A couple of problems with using TODDs arise if you want to leave property to someone under 18 years of age. Also, you would not want to use a TODD to give property to an adult receiving government benefits for a disability or low income. Not handling the estate properly could result in a loss of benefits. But if an estate does not need tax planning and the property is the only asset that would be subject to probate, a TODD may be the most efficient way to handle the estate. The best way to learn if a transfer on death deed is the right approach for your circumstances is to meet with the estate planning and elder law attorneys of Boyd Hoffer Bolt Law Firm. At our firm you’ll encounter the high level of compassion and professionalism we bring when assisting all of our clients and their family members with estate planning issues.