In Indiana, a transfer on death deed (TODD) is a legal document that allows a property owner to transfer their real estate to a beneficiary without the need for probate. The transfer takes effect upon the property owner’s death. This is a popular option for individuals who want to ensure that their property is transferred to a specific person or organization after their death. In this article, we’ll go over the specifics of transfer on death deeds in Indiana.
Who Can Use a TODD?
Any property owner in Indiana can use a TODD. However, it’s important to note that joint owners cannot use a TODD to transfer their interest in the property to each other. A TODD can only be used to transfer a property owner’s interest to a beneficiary who is not a joint owner.
Requirements for a Valid TODD
To be valid in Indiana, a TODD must meet certain requirements. The property owner must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old. The TODD must be in writing and signed by the property owner in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the document. Additionally, the TODD must be recorded with the county recorder’s office where the property is located.
Revoking a TODD
A property owner can revoke a TODD at any time. This can be done by executing a new TODD that revokes the previous one, or by recording a revocation document with the county recorder’s office where the original TODD was recorded.
Benefits of a TODD
One of the main benefits of a TODD is that it avoids the need for probate. Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after their death. It can be time-consuming and expensive, and it can tie up a person’s property for months or even years. By using a TODD, a property owner can ensure that their property is transferred quickly and efficiently to their chosen beneficiary.
Limitations of a TODD
There are some limitations to using a TODD. For example, if the property owner owes money to a creditor, the creditor may be able to collect from the property after the owner’s death. Additionally, if the beneficiary dies before the property owner, the transfer on death deed is invalid.
Choosing a Beneficiary
When choosing a beneficiary for a TODD, it’s important to consider the person’s age, financial situation, and ability to manage the property. It’s also a good idea to discuss the transfer with the beneficiary beforehand to ensure that they are willing and able to take on the responsibility of owning the property.
Recording a TODD
To ensure that a TODD is effective, it must be recorded with the county recorder’s office where the property is located. The recording fee is typically a few hundred dollars. It’s important to keep a copy of the recorded TODD with your estate planning documents.
Using a TODD with a Trust
A TODD can be used in conjunction with a trust. For example, a person could create a revocable living trust and name themselves as the trustee. They could then name a beneficiary to receive the property upon their death using a TODD. This can be a useful estate planning tool for individuals who want to avoid probate and ensure that their property is distributed according to their wishes.
Alternatives to a TODD
There are other options available for transferring property outside of probate. For example, a person could create a living trust or joint tenancy with right of survivorship. It’s important to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine which option is best for your individual situation.
Common Questions About TODDs
Can a TODD be changed?
Yes, a TODD can be changed or revoked at any time.
Can a TODD be contested?
Yes, a TODD can be contested if there is evidence of fraud, undue influence, or lack of capacity.
Can a TODD be used for personal property?
No, a TODD can only be used for real estate in Indiana.
Do I need an attorney to create a TODD?
While it’s not required to have an attorney, it’s recommended to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure that the TODD is legally valid.
A transfer on death deed in Indiana can be a useful tool for ensuring that your property is transferred to a specific beneficiary after your death. It’s important to ensure that the TODD meets all of the legal requirements, is recorded with the county recorder’s office, and is kept with your estate planning documents. Additionally, it’s recommended to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine if a TODD is the best option for your individual situation.