Transfer On Death Deeds Attorney in Blaine, Minnesota
Estate planning should be part of everyone's legal strategy to plan for their death, but there are several ways to go about this. One of the questions I get when working with clients is what is the best way of transferring property to someone else upon death. Many people like to do this through a living trust, but another good option may be a real estate transfer, known as a transfer-on-death deed, TOD deed, or simply TODD.
The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is ensure you’re working with an experienced estate planning attorney who can advise you on your best options that are specific to your personal goals. If you’re in the Blaine, Minnesota area, including anywhere in Hennepin County, Ramsey County, or Sherburne County, call me today at The Law Office of Robert J. Everhart, PLC to get started on your estate plan.
Deed Transfers in Minnesota
Whenever you buy a piece of property, you’ll be given a deed that legally names you as the owner. Upon the purchase, the previous owner’s deed will fall out of their name and be transferred over to you once the sale is final, and the new deed will contain the name of the previous owner as well as the new owner to document the deed transfer. The current owner is referred to as the grantor and the new owner is referred to as the grantee. After the new owner signs the deed and has it notarized, it will then be officially registered in the county the property is in.
What is a Transfer-on-Death Deed?
One specific type of deed that can be used in Minnesota is a transfer-on-death deed (sometimes called a beneficiary deed), and these are a good alternative for someone who wants to pass on their property to an heir and avoid probate but also not have to deal with the legal process of setting up a trust. Like a normal deed, this will also contain a grantor and a grantee, except that the grantee can only claim ownership once the grantor dies. This type of deed must be established and signed by the grantor while they’re still living and of sound mind and body. Furthermore, the grantor has the right to modify or revoke the terms of the deed anytime during their life, offering flexibility to respond to your family’s changing needs.
One of the biggest advantages of a TOD deed is that it avoids the costly and time-consuming process of probate. When you leave assets to a beneficiary through a will, it must first be “proved” in court. This means that a judge must oversee the transfer and your administrator ensures all assets are accounted for, all beneficiaries are contacted, and all creditors are notified and given enough time to respond and request debt be paid before any part of the estate can be transferred. This can take several months to a year to complete and includes court filing fees and almost always attorney fees. By using a TOD deed, you can bypass this, and your grantee will be able to take almost immediate ownership of the property.
The Transfer Process
The transfer process for this kind of deed is fairly straightforward. As long as the grantor has properly signed the deed, had it notarized ahead of time, and kept up payment of applicable taxes, the grantee can assume ownership after the grantor’s death. Although you don’t legally have to notify your beneficiary that they’ve been named as the grantee, it’s usually a good idea to communicate your wishes while you’re still living. The transfer is an automatic process and the grantee will also assume any debt (like a mortgage) that is attached to the property. The grantee will also likely have to sign an affidavit that they received the property and file a copy of your death certificate with the county the property is located in.
How an Attorney Can Help
Although a TOD deed is not terribly difficult to put in place, it’s important that it’s done right the first time to avoid future complications for your beneficiaries. The best way to ensure this happens is by hiring an experienced real estate attorney who can help you set this up. They can also help you update, modify, or revoke an existing TOD deed should your wishes or circumstances change. This can often be the case if your named beneficiary passes away before you, if you remarry, or if you welcome new children to your family.
Transfer On Death Deeds Attorney Serving
As we age and our families grow, it’s only natural that we start thinking about what will happen to our assets when we die and how we can best support our loved ones after we pass. If you’d like to speak with a real estate attorney about forming a transfer-on-death deed or any aspect of estate planning, reach out to me at The Law Office of Robert J. Everhart, PLC in Blaine, Minnesota.