Real Estate Deed Transfer FAQs

At Tarrant & Liska, P.L.L.C., we believe that our clients should be able to navigate the process of transferring real estate assets with as much ease as possible. Our attorneys have decades of experience advising clients with real estate needs throughout the Twin Cities metro area.

Located in St. Paul, at about Grand Avenue and Snelling Avenue, our office is convenient to many of our clients, and we are able to meet with clients throughout the metro. Our focus is on providing the best possible service to our clients with personalized attention. We aim to reduce legal burdens through comprehensive preparation of required documents, accurate attention to detail and earnest defense through matters involving litigation.

Many of our clients are interested in making the transfer of their home or other smaller real estate holdings simple for their beneficiaries. A Transfer on Death Deed is a practical tool to ensure your property can pass on to beneficiaries and avoid the probate process.

What is a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD)?

Minnesota is one of only 12 states that has passed a law allowing for a nonprobate method to leave real estate to one's heirs through a real estate deed transfer.

How does it work?

A TODD, also known as a beneficiary deed, works just like any other deed or conveyance instrument. The only difference is that it does not take effect until after the death of the last grantor. The grantor is the person who owns the property and is signing the deed. This works the same as if you designate who is to receive your real estate in a will or trust, except that a TODD does not require a court's supervision to pass ownership of the property.

What are the requirements for an effective TODD?

In order to become valid, a TODD must state the names of the beneficiaries, the legal description of the property being conveyed, and include language that the deed will not become effective until the grantor(s)'s death. Furthermore, the TODD must be signed before a notary public and then recorded in the county where the real property is located. If the grantor is married, his or her spouse should sign the TODD as well. The TODD has to be recorded before the grantor dies.

Can you name more than one beneficiary?

Yes. You can name multiple beneficiaries, along with successor or alternate beneficiaries.

When would the beneficiaries receive ownership of the property?

The beneficiaries receive no ownership rights during the lifetime of the grantor owner. Only upon the death of the last grantor owner does ownership transfer to the intended beneficiary.

What are some cons of TODDs?

TODDs do not avoid estate tax liability. TODDs also do not protect property from creditors. Any valid liens, mortgages or other security interests attached to the property will come with it when it is conveyed to the beneficiaries. TODDs also do not escape any Medical Assistance claims.

When are TODDs generally favorable?

TODDs are particularly useful for persons with small estates that have real property. TODDs can ensure that the property is conveyed to an intended beneficiary without incurring the costs of the probate process. Following the death of the final grantor, the beneficiary simply needs to record with the county where the real estate is located an affidavit of identity and survivorship and a certified copy of the death certificate of the grantor owner. It will also be necessary to get and file a certification that there are no medical assistance claims.

For more information about effective estate planning and TODDs, please visit our Estate planning FAQs page.

Contact Tarrant & Liska, P.L.L.C.

We offer an initial consultations. Contact us by e-mail or call us at 651-315-8738 (toll free at 888-342-2493).

Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. Our offices are located on Grand Avenue, just off Snelling, but our lawyers travel to meet with you, if requested.

Payment plans can be arranged, and Visa and MasterCard are welcome.