In 2009, the State of Indiana passed the Transfer on Death Property Act (currently codified under Ind. Code 32-17-14 et. seq.). This Act (amongst other things) gave Indiana landowners the ability to beneficiary designate their homes, land, and real estate to children, spouses, or other family members. To do this, the homeowner must execute and record a valid Transfer on Death Deed (or TOD Deed).
Similar in nature to a warranty deed, a TOD Deed simply restates who the owner(s) of the home is/are. However, instead of providing an immediate transfer of ownership, the TOD Deed names a designated beneficiary and will not transfer the home until the death of the homeowner. It can also designate how multiple beneficiaries will take ownership of the real estate (such as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or tenants in common). Additionally, because no one knows the time of their death, a TOD Deed is fully amendable and revocable; so, it can be easily changed with the addition (or subtraction) of various family members.
The benefits of the TOD Deed were immediately apparent to most estate planning attorneys in Indiana. It allowed homeowners to transfer real estate (including homes, commercial property, farmland, or rental property) outside of probate. Prior to the creation of the TOD Deed, the only way to accomplish this type of probate avoidance for real estate was to create a revocable trust agreement and transfer the real estate into the name of the trust, which cost the homeowner several thousands of dollars and was overly burdensome to the home. Because of its lower cost and amendability, the TOD Deed has become a regular document in the estate plan of a majority of Hoosier landowners. And because of its flexibility, the TOD Deed can also be used by landowners in more complex trust planning and Medicaid planning.
For more information about adding a TOD Deed to your estate planning documents (or to discuss estate and trust planning in general), contact Todd I. Glass firstname.lastname@example.org
at (812) 425-3592.