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  • Lynn K. Girvin, Esq.

TOD vs. Revocable Trust

There are ways of transferring title to your home without the use of a Revocable Trust. A Transfer on Death deed (“TOD”) allows a property owner to execute a deed that names a beneficiary who will obtain the property at the owner’s death. This tool allows property to be distributed without the hassle of probate; but there are risks. First, the beneficiary must be living at the time of the title holder’s death, and second, the beneficiary cannot be a minor. The main problem with using a TOD is if the beneficiary dies before the property owner and the owner either forgets or is otherwise unable to change the TOD beneficiary, the property will end up going through probate. There is no “Plan B” for distribution of the property.

The better solution for a property owner is to create a Revocable Trust. Here, the property owner can provide for different possibilities if a named beneficiary is unable to receive the property. For instance, if your named beneficiary passes away before you and you want that property to go to someone else, you can provide those details in your trust document. In addition, if you want the property to be distributed to a minor, you can provide for a trustee to manage that property until the minor becomes an adult. And lastly, a Revocable Trust provides benefits both during and after the property owners death.

A Revocable Trust is simply a better estate planning tool. Transfer on Death Deeds serve a purpose for people who don’t have time or cannot afford to create a more comprehensive estate plan. A Transfer on Death Deed offers none of these protections and has inherent problems that are typically not discovered until after the property owner’s death when it is too late to fix. Every family situation is unique. We walk you through all the best options and create a solution that is just right for you.

Call me today to talk about your options! (714) 619-4145


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