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Transfer on Death Deed (TODD)

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transfer on death deed is a document that is used for transferring real estate to a person (beneficiary) upon the owner’s death. The deed has no effect over the owner’s property until death occurs. Should the owner (grantor) wish to lease, renovate, or even sell the property, they retain the right to do so.

Also known as a:

  • Beneficiary deed
  • TOD deed

By State

Transfer on death deeds are currently permitted in twenty-nine (29) states. If a TOD deed is not permitted in the owner’s state, they may be interested in executing a living trust or a lady bird deed, as long they are accepted in their state.


Contents


What is a Transfer on Death Deed?

A transfer on death deed passes one’s ownership in real property to another person (or persons) upon the owner’s death. The owner is known as the grantor, and the recipient is called the beneficiary or grantee.

The deed can be revoked anytime prior to the owners’s death. This can be done by either completing a new transfer on death deed and recording it in the same manner as the first, OR by completing and recording a revocation of transfer on death deed.

Benefits

  • Allows the beneficiary to skip the probate process.
  • Doesn’t change the grantor’s ownership over the property.
  • Can be revoked at anytime prior to the grantor’s death.

Drawbacks

  • Transfers all liens and mortgages to the beneficiary (if any).
  • Jointly owned property overrides a TOD deed.

How to Use

Step 1 – Download the Correct Form

Because many of the states that permit transfer on death deeds have their own specific requirements, it’s important that a state-specific form is used. Select a state above.

Step 2 – Fill it Out

The deed can be filled online or printed and completed by hand. The major points of information the owner will need to input into the form includes:

  • The full name, marital status, and mailing address of the owner(s).
  • The legal description of the property (can be found on the last recorded deed or at the local county recorder’s office).
  • The beneficiary’s full name, marital status, and mailing address.
  • If applicable, the alternative beneficiary’s full name, marital status, and address.

Step 3 – Sign it

Prior to signing the form, check the state requirements to see if the deed needs to be notarized and/or signed by witnesses prior to recording.

The majority of states require that grantors have their signatures notarized, while some permit the signatures of two (2) witnesses as an alternative. The beneficiary does not need to sign the deed.

Step 4 – Record it with County Clerk

Bring the signed deed to the local county recorder to finalize the process. The recorder will require a small fee. Once recorded, the transfer on death deed is in effect. While nothing changes in regards to the owner’s current power over their property, the real estate is instantaneously conveyed to the beneficiary upon the owner’s death.


Transfer on Death Laws

The following table contains the statutes pertaining to transfer on death for the twenty-nine (29) states that permit this type of deed.

STATE STATUTE
Alabama N/A
Alaska §§ 13.48.010 to 13.48.195
Arizona § 33-405
Arkansas § 18-12-608
California §§ 5600 to 5698
Colorado §§ 15-15-404 to 15-15-415
Connecticut N/A
Delaware N/A
Florida N/A
Georgia N/A
Hawaii §§ 527-1 to 527-17
Idaho N/A
Illinois §§ 755 ILCS 27/1 to 27/100
Indiana §§ 32-17-14-0.2 to 32-17-14-32
Iowa N/A
Kansas § 59-3501
Kentucky N/A
Louisiana N/A
Maine §§ 6-401 to 6-421
Maryland N/A
Massachusetts N/A
Michigan N/A
Minnesota § 507.071
Mississippi §§ 91-27-1 to 91-27-37
Missouri § 461.025
Montana §§ 72-6-401 to 72-6-418
Nebraska §§ 76-3401 to 76-3423
Nevada §§ 111.655 to 111.699
New Hampshire N/A
New Jersey N/A
New Mexico §§ 45-6-401 to 45-6-417
New York N/A
North Carolina N/A
North Dakota §§ 30.1-32.1-01 to 30.1-32.1-14
Ohio § 5302.22
Oklahoma 58 § 1253
Oregon §§ 93.948 to 93.985
Pennsylvania N/A
Rhode Island N/A
South Carolina N/A
South Dakota §§ 29A-6-401 to 29A-6-435
Tennessee N/A
Texas §§ 114.001 to 114.106
Utah §§ 75-6-401 to 75-6-419
Vermont N/A
Virginia §§ 64.2-621 to 64.2-638
Washington §§ 64.80.010 to 64.80.904
West Virginia §§ 36-12-1 to 36-12-17
Wisconsin § 705.15
Wyoming §§ 2-18-101 to 2-18-105

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Does the beneficiary need to sign the transfer on death deed?

No, the beneficiary does not need to sign the deed.

Only the owner(s) need to sign the deed (often in the presence of a Notary Public or witness).

How many states allow transfer on death deeds?

There are currently twenty-nine (29) states that permit real property to be transferred using a transfer on death deed.

Several other states allow transfer on death deeds, but only for transferring investments, stocks, and similar assets.

What if there are multiple owners?

If the owners are joint tenants, they would need to complete separate deeds, while naming the same beneficiary in each (if allowed by state law).

This is because joint tenancies involve “right of survivorship,” which is a term that refers to the property automatically transferring to the other owner should one owner die. Right of survivorship overrides a TOD deed, rendering the TOD deed useless unless the other owner were to die first.

If the owners are tenants in common (TIC), either owner is free to do anything with their portion of the ownership in the property. If the property was owned by three people (for example) and one of the owners dies, their ownership portion would transfer to the named beneficiary, leaving the other owners unaffected.

Do wills supersede transfer on death deeds?

No, wills do not supersede TOD deeds. With a TOD deed, interest in the property is conveyed to the beneficiary immediately after the death of the owner. Whereas a will requires probate, which is a drawn out process in which assets are passed onto heirs.