The TOD designation ensures a smooth transfer of ownership without the need for the asset to go through the typical Probate process.
This is one of the main advantages of TOD arrangements; by avoiding probate beneficiaries can save time and money for the beneficiaries and streamline the transfer process.
TOD arrangements are commonly used for various types of assets, including:
Securities: Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can be held in a TOD form, allowing them to be transferred directly to beneficiaries upon the owner's death.
Vehicles: Some states allow vehicle owners to designate a TOD beneficiary for their vehicle. This can streamline the transfer process when the owner passes away.
Real Estate: Certain states allow real estate property owners to use TOD Deeds to transfer property directly to beneficiaries, bypassing probate.
Financial Accounts: Bank accounts, including checking, savings, and money market accounts, can have TOD designations. Similarly, brokerage accounts, including investment accounts and retirement accounts, can also have TOD designations. These account's funds are transferred to the beneficiaries upon the account owner's death.
Other key points about transfer on death arrangements include:
Revocable: The owner of the asset can change or revoke the TOD designation during their lifetime. This provides flexibility if circumstances change or if the owner wishes to update the beneficiaries.
Beneficiary Designation: The owner must specify the names of the beneficiaries in the TOD designation. If the owner passes away, the asset's ownership is transferred to the named beneficiaries automatically, based on the instructions provided. If no names are listed, the transfer will be difficult or may not be possible.
Estate Taxes: In some states, TOD arrangements might have implications for Estate Taxes. It's advisable to consult with an Estate Attorney or a Certified Public Accountant to understand any tax implications.
Transfer-on-Death sometimes used interchangeably with "Payable-on-Death" (POD) because they are both methods used to transfer assets, but TOD is commonly used for assets like stocks and vehicles, while POD is more often used for financial accounts such as bank accounts and retirement accounts.