The Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument: What is It, and Why Do You Need It?

Web Admin - Monday, July 24, 2017

Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneysOne of the more frustrating aspects of estate planning is the risk of probate. In fact, most estate owners will do anything they can to prevent it from happening. They know that it can lower the estate’s overall value, and they would prefer that those assets go to their beneficiaries. If one of the items they want to transfer upon death is real estate, owners can opt for the Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI). What is this estate planning document, and when should you use it? The following information explains, and it provides details on how to determine if it may be appropriate for your estate planning needs.

What is the Transfer on Death Instrument?

Covered under the Illinois Residential Real Property Transfer Act, TODI documents lets owners transfer real estate property to their beneficiaries upon death, without the risk of probate. It does this through a non-testamentary transfer. Able to be used by single and joint owners, these documents have many of the same requirements as will drafting (owner must be of sound mind and not under duress, document must be prepared by the owner or an attorney, etc.), but they do not necessarily replace a will for owners with expansive estates.

Meeting the Validity Requirements

A Transfer on Death Instrument may be signed either by a single owner, or jointly. Keep in mind that it does not have to be signed by all owners, but it does not remove joint tenancy if another owner has not signed it. A TODI must also comply with all deed requirements, and it must state that the property transfers upon the owner’s death (or owners’, if joint signed). Further, the document must be recorded in the county or counties in which the property is located. Should the owner ever want to revoke the TODI, they are permitted to do so. However, if the TODI is joint signed, both parties must revoke the transfer to be considered a valid revocation.

Should You Use One?

There are many complexities and nuances in estate planning, and any one of them could determine whether a TODI is right for your situation. As such, it is highly recommended that estate owners seek legal assistance with their estate planning needs. Contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Skilled and experienced, we can help you find the creative solution that is most suitable for your needs. Schedule a personalized consultation with our Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers to learn more. Call 847-934-6000 today.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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