TRANSFER ON DEATH
How does the saying go? “There are different ways to skin a cat.” And that saying is applicable in avoiding probate. So here are a couple of estate planning tools you can utilize.
With respect to real estate there are Transfer-on-Death Deeds. The real estate remains in your name and you can do anything with the property that you could have done prior to executing such a deed. For a couple that owns their home jointly, upon the death of the first spouse, the real estate becomes the property of the survivor. The only thing that needs to be done upon the death of the first is to record the death certificate with the legal description of the property on the back to transfer the ownership to the surviving spouse. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the death certificate needs to be recorded again with the legal description of the property on the back to transfer the ownership to the designated grantees on the deed.
You can do the same with Payable-on-Death Designations on your checking and savings accounts. All the banks have their individual forms. With respect to designated beneficiaries, the banks usually require their name and address, social security number, date of birth, and their relationship to you. Upon the death of the last owner of the account, the proceeds will be paid to the designated beneficiaries. Before doing so, the bank will require that a certificate of death be presented.
And don’t forget motor vehicles. If you look at your title, you will notice that there is a light grey shaded area to designate transfer-on-death recipients. All you need to do is go to the tag office with your title, current registration and proof of automotive liability insurance coverage and they will assist you right there on the spot.
A word to the wise, obviously, you need to do this before you pass away, not after. So get it done and recorded; especially, the Transfer-On-Death Deed. And whatever you do, do not designate your estate as a beneficiary or recipient. If you do so, you just caused a probate.
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