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Minnesota's Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) for Real Estate

Minnesota's TODD deed may help you avoid a probate proceeding.

Minnesota’s relatively new Transfer on Death Deed (TODD)  -- a so-called “Will substitute for real estate” -- works best when the property owner has a simple distribution plan in mind for the owner’s real property at death.

Historically in Minnesota, when one person owned a piece of real estate and then died, a probate action was automatically required. By authorizing TODDs effective August 1, 2008, the Minnesota Legislature created the opportunity to avoid probate. In other words, if the TODD is executed correctly, no probate action is triggered simply by the ownership of real estate.

To be effective, a TODD must be recorded prior to the property owner’s death. Importantly, the intended beneficiary of the property has no rights in the property until the current property owner dies. Therefore, the property owner can revoke an existing TODD. The property owner can also change his or her mind about who the beneficiary or beneficiaries should be, and draft a new TODD.  And, the property owner can decide to sell the property instead of keeping it for his or her intended beneficiaries, and take the sale proceeds.  If a sale occurs, an existing TODD is void.

The TODD must expressly state that it is only effective on the death of one or more of the property owners, and must identify the property owner or owners whose deaths trigger the transfer. The wording on a TODD must be carefully considered or it may not work as intended.  A TODD can be an effective tool under the right circumstances, but legal assistance should be sought in drafting the deed language.

©2012,2013 Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC. All rights reserved. 

Disclaimer: This Blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, please seek the advice of an attorney. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading this Blog. If you are interested in Wittenburg Law’s representation of you, you must contact Wittenburg Law for a determination of whether your matter is one for which Wittenburg Law is willing and able to accept representation of you.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, Minnetonka 952-649-9771 www.bwittenburglaw.com   bonnie@bwittenburglaw.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gwen Voegtle February 04, 2013 at 05:01 PM
I was not aware of this. Thank you for the information.

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