A transfer on death deed (TODD) is a legal document that transfers a person’s interest in real property to one or more beneficiaries. The transfer becomes effective at the owner’s death. Until recently, Mississippi did not recognize transfer on death deeds. In July 2020, Mississippi’s Governor signed the “Mississippi Real Property Transfer on Death Act.”
Contact a Mississippi Transfer on Death Deeds Attorney Today
Utilizing a transfer on death deed as part of your estate plan can be beneficial, especially if one of your goals is to avoid the probate process. Transfer on death deeds is a relatively new and efficient way to plan your estate. You’ll be able to transfer your property without the necessity of going through the probate process. If you were interested in discussing a transfer on death deed or any other estate planning matters, contact Palmer & Slay, PLLC today.
What Is a Transfer on Death Deed?
As the name implies, a transfer on death deed is a deed that allows the owner to transfer their ownership in a property to 1 or more beneficiaries they choose. Any real property can be transferred by using a transfer of death deed in Mississippi. The deed will not affect their rights to the property while they are still alive. During their lifetime, the transferor retains all of the control and rights over the property, including the right to transfer, encumber, use, and sell the property. The ownership of rights to the property will not change until the transferor passes away. Only upon the transferor’s death will the beneficiaries receive ownership rights.
TODD Requirements in Mississippi
In Mississippi, there are certain legal requirements for a transfer on death deed to be valid. First, the property owner, also called the transferor, must name a person or people called beneficiaries to whom the property will automatically transfer at the time of his or her death. As with a last will and testament, the person executing a transfer on death deed must have the mental capacity necessary to make a contract. Additionally, a transfer on death deed can’t be created by using a power of attorney unless a power of attorney expressly authorized doing so.
Transfer of death deeds is required to contain the essential elements of any other recordable deed. The deed must clearly state that the real property will be transferred to a designated beneficiary or beneficiaries at the death of the transfer. There is no requirement that the transfer on death deed is delivered to or accepted by the beneficiary. When the transferor executes and files the deed, it becomes legally valid.
The beneficiary doesn’t have to know about the creation of the deed. After the deed has been executed, it needs to be recorded before the transferor’s death in the land records and in the chancellery clerk’s official records for the county in which the property is located. When a transfer of death decree has not been recorded properly before the transfer or death, it will not be legally effective.
Revoking Transfer of Death Deeds
Another advantage to transfer on death deeds involves their revoke ability. Other types of deeds cannot be revoked, but the transfer on death deed is revocable. The transfer will need to file an instrument of revocation that expressly revokes the deed. Alternatively, they may ask you to file a new transfer on the death deed that revokes part or all of the prior deed. Any subsequent revocation needs to be reported before the transferor’s death. A last will and testament cannot supersede or revoke a transfer on death deed.
The Benefits of Using a Transfer on Death Deed
Many estate planners find transfer of death deeds attractive because they allow them to transfer ownership of their real property affordably and quickly. The beneficiary will not need to go through the probate process, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, a transfer on death deed allows the owner to control his or her property as they normally would during their lifetime.
The transferor also has the option to revoke the transfer on death deeds at any time. Since transfer on death deeds cannot be superseded by a last will and testament, there is a sense of security when using these types of deeds. It is relatively easy for the beneficiary to record the affidavit of death in the deed records and become the property’s legal owner.
There are some downsides to using transfer on death deeds as well. If the deed hasn’t been properly executed and recorded before the property owner’s death, it won’t be legally valid. In other cases, people may not understand that the transfer on death deed will supersede a last will and testament when they are in conflict. If a transfer on death deed is executed in addition to a will and they contradict each other, legal issues will probably result. Transfer on death deeds are also subject to estate taxes and creditor claims. If property owners are concerned about creditors, placing the property into a trust could better protect it.
Discuss Your Estate Plan With an Experienced Attorney Today
Transfer on death deeds is relatively new. As a result, there aren’t many laws related to these types of legal instruments. The attorneys at Palmer & Slay, PLLC, stay abreast of all significant changes to Mississippi locked, including changes related to transfer on death deed. If you’re interested in using a transfer on death deed, we can advise you of the benefits and disadvantages of this type of estate planning tool. We also provide comprehensive estate planning services for our clients. Contact Palmer & Slay, PLLC today to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the future and protect you and your loved ones.