What is a transfer on death deed?

Minneapolis, MN estate planning attorney Cameron R. Kelly discusses a transfer on death deed.

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Phone: (715) 381-7112


Transfer on death deed is something that’s fairly new in the estate-planning world. People typically will pass their property to other people using a will or using some method like you might think of a financial account, an IRA you’d have a beneficiary designation on that account. A transfer on death deed is pretty similar to a beneficiary designation on an IRA where you record a deed with the county that you live in and say to them when I pass away I want my property to pass to this other person that I’m designating. And the nice part about a transfer on death deed is while you’re living you can change that at any time just like you’d go and change the beneficiary on your IRA.

But when you pass away, the transfer is going to take place in a pretty simple and straightforward manner usually just recording an affidavit, a sworn statement that this person has passed away and a death certificate. I tend to caution people about using them as an estate-planning substitute because I’ve seen situation where there are multiple children that are named on a transfer on death deed and it turns into a big family dispute or a litigation matter. And so you want to be careful about using them still but it can be a nice tool to use along with your estate planning in order to make sure that your real estate transfers to the person that you want it to go to.