Although it is not permitted in all states, a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed, also known as a beneficiary deed, can be a useful estate planning tool. When you are alive and own the property, you can use a transfer-on-death deed to transfer it to your beneficiary without having to go through the probate process. You will continue to own and manage your real estate throughout your lifetime, much like a living trust. You may decide to give it away, sell it, lease it, refinance it, or do other things with it. In addition, you are in charge of keeping the house upkeep and paying the mortgage and taxes. You can change or revoke your TOD at any time if you have second thoughts about your beneficiaries.
What is a transfer-on-death deed?
Do you own a home, and if so, who is listed on the deed? It’s important to name the person who will receive your property upon your passing when you own property, such as a home. The best way to avoid probate is to set up a living trust and transfer your property’s ownership to the trust, but a transfer-on-death deed (TOD deed) is also an option.
You have complete ownership of and access to your house with a living trust while you are still alive. Depending on how you draft your trust documents, either you or your trust will foot the bill for the property’s expenses. Your trust’s trustee will transfer your assets to your beneficiaries after your passing. No probate is needed.
Wich states allow Transfer-on-death deed?
Currently, 30 states allow you to make a trasnfer-on-death deed. You do not need to live in one of these states to use a TOD deed, but your property must be located in one. Different states have slightly different processes for executing a TOD, but the overall process is about the same.
Step 1: Complete the TOD Deed
Determine the precise form and language necessary for a TOD to ensure that it complies with the laws for the state in which the property is located with the help of an experienced estate planning or real estate attorney. In contrast to a traditional deed, a TOD contains specific language that makes it clear that the deed does not go into effect until your death.
Step 2: Name Your Beneficiary
Your choices for a beneficiary are virtually unlimited. You may mention one or more individuals, a group, a company, or a nonprofit. If you designate a beneficiary, think about also designating an alternate or contingent beneficiary in case your primary beneficiary passes away before you do. Name your beneficiaries using their given legal names, not their relationship to you, to make your intentions clear. You must specify on the TOD deed how the beneficiaries will own the property if you have more than one beneficiary, such as your children.
You could potentially choose:
Step 3: Describe the Property
It’s critical to identify the beneficiaries and the property in addition to doing so clearly. On your current deed in the public records of real estate, in your sales contract, or in your mortgage documents, you can find the most recent description of your property. To ensure that the legal descriptions on your TOD deed are accurate, speak with your real estate or estate planning attorney or your title company. Legal descriptions of property are not always accurately transferred between documents.
Step 4: Sign the Deed
You can sign the TOD deed by yourself if you are the only owner of the property. Imagine that you marry, live in a state where community property is the rule, or that you designate your property as a homestead. In any case, the TOD deed, a joinder, or a waiver stating that your spouse has no objections to the TOD deed must be signed by both of you. Again, if you want to make sure that your intended transfer-on-death deed complies with all legal requirements and that everything in the deed is properly documented, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.
What happens if you co-own a property with someone as tenants in common?
As tenants in common, you can still name a beneficiary to receive your share of a property that you jointly own. The deed must be signed by every co-owner, though, and it won’t take effect until the final co-owner has passed away. For instance, if you sign a TOD alone, the deed won’t take effect until the last surviving owner is found. If this occurs, the TOD deed will allow your beneficiary to inherit the property after your death.
If you and your co-owner co-sign a TOD deed and you pass away before they do, they will be in complete control of the property until they pass away. They can even revoke the TOD before their death.
Find out if your state mandates that the signatures on a TOD deed be notarized. If necessary, an attorney or a title company can usually make this happen for you. The TOD deed is not required to be signed by your beneficiary, and you are not required to inform them of your intentions. However, it’s crucial to remember that a TOD deed is public information, making it possible for anyone to determine who will be the beneficiary.
Step 5: Record the Deed
The deed must then be submitted to the appropriate land records agency as the next step. This could be the county clerk, recorder’s office, land registrar, or office of land records in the county where the property is located, depending on where you are. The deed is typically recorded for a small recording fee. A TOD deed is useless unless all parties involved follow the instructions exactly. To ensure that your property passes to your intended beneficiary or beneficiaries, your estate planning attorney will confirm that you have taken all necessary steps.
The Advantages of a TOD deed
With a TOD deed, no real estate transfer or change in beneficial ownership occurs prior to your passing. This lessens the chance that the property will unintentionally become subject to creditors’ claims or incur extra charges or taxes.
The Disadvantages of a TOD deed
When it comes to distributing property to numerous beneficiaries, the law has many quirks. Unfortunately, these quirks sometimes lead to results that are not what you intended. This is demonstrated by the distinction between naming beneficiaries as tenants in common or joint tenants with rights of survivorship.
Assume that a TOD deed names four children as beneficiaries, and that each child has two children. This results in eight grandchildren. If one child passed away in the first scenario, their children (two grandchildren) would not be entitled to the property. In the second instance, they would split the property’s one-fourth share that belonged to the deceased child.
There are many benefits to a TOD deed. To ensure that your property is transferred to your beneficiaries in the manner you intended, the deed must be clearly drafted. If a TOD deed is your best option, a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can assist you in making sure it satisfies all state legal requirements.
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Can a mortgage stay in a deceased persons name?
If you’re wondering if a mortgage can continue to be held in a deceased person’s name, the answer is yes, but there are some restrictions. They are: In order for the deceased person’s heirs to inherit the property, the mortgage must be paid off. The lender has the right to seize the property if the mortgage is not repaid.
What are the disadvantages of a TOD deed?
Mortgage: Under federal law, lenders must allow heirs to a property to assume a mortgage. But an heir is not required to continue paying the mortgage. They have three options: settle the debt, refinance, or sell the house.
Can a beneficiary take over a mortgage?
Arkansas allows you to leave real estate with transfer-on-death deeds. These deeds are also called beneficiary deeds. The deed is signed and recorded now, but it won’t go into effect until you pass away.