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Comparison: Transfer-on-Death Deed vs. Will

Comparison: Transfer-on-Death Deed vs. Will

Wills and transfer-on-death deeds provide ways to distribute real estate properties to your heirs. Both methods involve different benefits and drawbacks. One option is more economical while the other offers greater flexibility. It's crucial to carefully compare them before you decide how to accomplish this task.


A transfer-on-death deed immediately assigns ownership to the designated beneficiary when the current owner passes away. This person doesn't have to wait for government approval. On the other hand, a probate court must approve the instructions in a will. This often results in delays and extra costs.


A will is more comprehensive than a TOD deed. It tells the authorities how to distribute your cash, investments and other types of belongings. This document can also provide instructions regarding the care of minors and pets. A transfer-on-death deed doesn't enable you to express all of your final wishes.


While you can create a last will and testament in any location, some state governments don't let residents use the TOD method. Each state has different laws about both documents. It's best to consult with a lawyer who possesses experience in estate planning.


A transfer-on-death deed gives you the option to designate an alternate beneficiary. If the original recipient passes away first, this person receives your land, home or business. You can also identify one or more alternate beneficiaries when you draft a will.

However, a will becomes preferable when you don't want the property to benefit a single person. Perhaps you have five children or several brothers and sisters. You could request that the executor sell your real estate and split the proceeds among multiple heirs.

While both options have different advantages, you may achieve the best results by setting up a will and a TOD deed. This solution expedites the process, cuts costs, and ensures that all assets are distributed properly. Please contact our office for professional legal assistance.