What is a Transfer on Death Deed and How can it Help You?

Posted by Tentinger Law Firm

A Transfer on Death Deed, commonly abbreviated as “TODD”, is an estate planning tool that allows you to transfer your real estate upon your death to your chosen recipients without the necessity of a probate court proceeding, with its attendant cost and hassle.  Unlike an outright transfer of the real estate while you are alive, with a Transfer on Death Deed, you are able to freely sell the property because the transfer does not occur until death, giving you maximum flexibility.  Your beneficiaries under the Transfer on Death Deed will also receive favorable treatment in terms of the capital gains tax, which is the tax levied on profit from the sale of property.  This is particularly significant in Minnesota because Minnesota has the fourth highest top marginal capital gains tax rate of any state in the United States.

A TODD is not a suitable tool for everyone.  A TODD is best for someone whose main asset is their homestead or other real estate and who would like to transfer the real estate to one or two beneficiaries.  It is not as good of an estate planning tool for someone who has many  beneficiaries to which they would like to leave the real estate because if the beneficiaries cannot decide what should be done with it, they will likely end up in court anyway and the cost-saving benefits of the TODD will be lost.  It is also important to note that the real estate will still be considered part of your estate for medical assistance qualification and estate tax purposes because the transfer does not occur until your death, so it is not appropriate for removing the value of property from your estate for medical assistance qualification or estate tax purposes. However, depending on your individual circumstances, it can be a great low cost option for avoiding probate and providing maximum flexibility.

Because advice on estate planning is largely dependent on the circumstance of your individual case, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney. For more information regarding Transfer on Death Deeds and to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney, contact Tentinger Law Firm at 952-953-3330 or use our quick contact form.