Estate Administration 101: I’ve Executed a Transfer-on Death Deed. Now What?

A Minnesota transfer-on-death deed (a “TODD”) is type of deed that transfers ownership of real estate effective only upon the grantor’s death. Think of a transfer-on-death deed as analogous to adding a beneficiary designation to your real estate, just as you would a life insurance policy or a bank account. We’ve covered more of the basics of using a transfer on death deed here.

In order to be effective, a transfer-on-death deed must expressly state that the deed is only effective upon the death(s) of one or more grantor owners, transfer the real property interest to one or more grantee beneficiaries, and it must comply with all provisions of Minnesota law applicable to deeds of real property. A transfer-on-death deed must also be recorded in a county where at least party of the real property described in the deed is located and must be recorded before the death of the grantor owner upon whose death the conveyance or transfer is effective.

Once a transfer-on-death deed is recorded with the county recorder’s office, it becomes part of the public real estate record. Upon the death of the grantor or grantors, the property transfers to the named beneficiaries. The named beneficiaries must execute and record a document called an Affidavit of Identity and Survivorship, together with a certified copy of the death certificate and clearance certificate showing there are no Medical Assistance liens against the property. The Affidavit of Identity and Survivorship establishes that the grantee beneficiary or beneficiaries survived the death(s) of the grantor owner(s) by at least 120 hours. The registrar of titles may rely on the statements found in the Affidavit of Identity and Survivorship and the death and clearance certificates as fact to transfer title to the described real property.

Transfer-on-death deeds can be a very effective tool for probate avoidance and are often a good way to simplify estate or trust administration. Transfer-on-death deeds are, however, not appropriate in all situations. Contact our office today or make an appointment online to speak with an attorney about your estate planning and real estate needs.

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