Transfer-on-death deeds: are they right for Illinois?
Twelve states -- including neighboring Missouri and Wisconsin -- allow property owners to avoid both probate and the complications of joint ownership by using transfer-on-death deeds. The concept is straightforward enough. When you die, your beneficiary takes title to your property. It doesn't pass by way of your will. No probate. But a TOD deed is revocable if you change your mind before you die. There are some potential pitfalls, of course, and TODDs wouldn't be the best choice for every client. But at ISBA President John O'Brien's request, the Trusts and Estates and Real Estate Section Councils are working on draft TODD legislation. You can learn more about TODDs and why some ISBA members think Illinois should become a TODD state by reading Eureka lawyer Darrell Dies' article in the July ISBA Trusts and Estates newsletter.