What is a Transfer on Death Instrument and Why Should You Use It?

Have you heard of a Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI)? A lot of people in Illinois don’t actually know about these despite Illinois being one of the few states that actually allow them.

A TODI is a tool that allows you to pass certain assets through your estate without having them go through probate. This means you can legally transfer assets to an individual or legal entity without having to spend the time and money that come with the probate process.

Illinois legislators first allowed these starting back on January 1, 2012, exclusively for residential real estate. However, the Real Property Transfer on Death Instrument Act was updated on January 1, 2022, to allow for all real property to qualify.

How To File a TODI

In order to take advantage of these benefits, you must file a TODI with the Recorder of Deeds in the Illinois county where the property is located. Note that this may be different from where you live. Two witnesses must be present for the filing and it must be notarized in order to be official.

A TODI is similar to a deed and allows you to name one or multiple beneficiaries who will receive the property in question. The only limitation is that the individual must be eligible to actually receive the property – meaning any adult who can legally manage their own assets.

Can I Change or Revoke a TODI?

A Transfer on Death Instrument is revokable in Illinois. This means you can completely revoke or alter the TODI even after it has officially been filed with the county.

This is especially important to understand because it allows you to sell or alter the property in question even if you have a TODI in place. For instance, if you filed a TODI for a piece of real estate but decide to sell the property, the TODI is nullified.

How Beneficiaries Can Claim Assets

The beneficiaries named in a TODI do not have to do anything prior to the death of the original owner. All the beneficiaries need to do is file a notice of death and acceptance with the Recorder of Deeds Office where the documents were originally filed. Once this is done, the property can be transferred into their name.

Work with an Attorney to Avoid Complications

As we noted above, these aren’t well-known documents and information is limited about how to properly file a TODI. It’s important to work with an attorney who has experience with these in order to avoid complications down the line.

The team at Velazquez Consumer Law knows how to manage Transfer on Death Instruments in Illinois and will help you properly file when you are ready.

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