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Q: Transfer on Death Deed - Ohio - 2 Scenarios and Pros/Cons ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Transfer on Death Deed - Ohio - 2 Scenarios and Pros/Cons
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: jmh1234-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 12 Nov 2006 20:53 PST
Expires: 12 Dec 2006 20:53 PST
Question ID: 782249
State of Ohio.  My mother is still alive and she is considering
changing the deed on her home (she owns it outright) to a Transfer on
Death deed to her 4 adult children.  This TOD type of deed is allowed
in Ohio and generally is used to avoid the house going through

My mother wants to make sure that her children's spouses (my mother's
son-in-laws) do not receive the transfer on death proceeds in the case
of my mothers death, nor have any legal right to her home asset value
just by her setting this up now while all of her children are alive
and married.

1) The first situation is my mother completes the TOD deed in 2006,
then in 2007 one of her children Jane dies, and Jane is survived by
Jane's spouse Joe (son-in-law).  My mother is still alive in 2007, and
she does not want son-in-law Joe to benefit from her home asset/the
TOD arrangement.  She wants to remove deceased Jane from the TOD.

a) Does son-in-law Joe have any say in what my mother can do with
removing deceased Jane from the TOD deed?
b) Does son-in-law Joe have any rights to my mother's home asset if
she changes the TOD to remove Jane? (because he was married to Jane
before Jane died)

2) in a second situation, suppose my mother completes the TOD naming
all of her children during 2006; in 2007, one of my mother's children
Sally gets divorced from her husband Steve (son-in-law).  My mother is
still alive in 2007 and wants to keep her child Sally on the TOD, but
wants to make sure that Steve has no right to the asset/say in the
decision to change the TOD.

a) I dont think the TOD deed would change since it already names her
child Sally, but does son-in-law Steve have any say in what my mother
can do with the TOD deed?
b) Does son-in-law Steve have any rights to my mother's home asset
after he and Sally divorce?

Basically, my mother is trying to avoid problems that I have heard can
happen when a deed is changed to have all of her children on it, (not
a TOD deed) where it is her understanding that if she does that type
of change then the son-in-laws have rights to her children's share
even if they divorced her children or if her children died and left a
surviving brother in law.  that is a different type of deed/title than
a TOD deed.

Any other comments about pros/cons of TOD Deeds would be appreciated.
Subject: Re: Transfer on Death Deed - Ohio - 2 Scenarios and Pros/Cons
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 13 Nov 2006 14:06 PST
Hello jmh1234,

Thank you for your question.

In summary: Joe and Steve would not be able to claim anything on the
property, which completely belongs to your mother until her death.  If
one of the children dies or is divorced after your mother's death,
that would be completely different because Sally and Jane would at
that time be co-owners in the property, and Joe and Steve would both
have claims to Jane and Sally's portions of property, respectively. 
But before your mother's death, only she owns it if her name is the
only one on the title and no one else could have any sort of claim to
her property.

A very convenient factor in the transfer on death deed is that the
beneficiaries can be changed at any time.  If one of your siblings
dies, your mother would be able to revise the deed to remove that
child from the deed to keep it updated.  Including only her children's
names would help the situation, as only named beneficiaries inherit. 
The transfer on death deed does not give the named beneficiaries any
interest in the property while the current owner is still alive; if
she dies and Steve and Sally get divorced two months later, he could
make a claim on Sally's section of the property since the interest of
ownership has by that time already transferred to Sally.  Joe could do
the same if Jane dies after she inherits her section of the property. 
But if they get divorced before your mother's death, Sally owns
nothing in the property and therefore Steve would have nothing to go
after, and if Jane dies before your mother's death, likewise she would
not own any property yet and so Joe wouldn't have any claim to make. 
It is still 100 percent your mother's property until her death unless
she executes a quit claim deed or something of that nature.  The
transfer on death is exactly like the title of the document implies--
transferable on death and not at any other time.

Cuyahoga County Recorder's Office

"The Transfer On Death Deed does not establish a present ownership
interest in the beneficiary named on the deed.

You may change the deed, naming a new beneficiary or beneficiaries, at
any time before your death."

In addition, if a beneficiary named in the deed dies, their portion of
the property is meted out to the other named beneficiaries.  Joe would
not be eligible to get anything since Jane (the named beneficiary) is
not alive.

Ohio State University Ohioline Estate Planning Considerations

"Heirs to named beneficiaries who did not survive the property owner do not hold
a legal interest in the property."  

This can cause problems and is why some organizations recommend
against the transfer on death deed, due to the fact that Jane's heirs
(any grandchildren) would not get any part of their grandmother's
estate unless they were specifically made contingent beneficiaries.

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

"If you name two people and one
dies, the property goes to the one still
living. Or, if you like, you can name a contingent beneficiary who
gets the property if the original beneficiary dies."

"A situation in which we would rec-
ommend against the new type deed, for
example, is if you are a widow with four
children who are named as your TOD
beneficiaries. If one child dies before you
do and you have not changed your TOD
Deed, the result may not be what you in-
tend. The property will go to the three liv-
ing children, but the children of your de-
ceased child will get no share of the prop-
erty if you did not name them as contin-
gent beneficiaries.

Of course, you can name all of
your grandchildren as contingent benefici-
aries, but you would have to do a new deed
each time a grandchild is born.
We generally do not recommend a
TOD Deed if you have more than two chil-
dren unless there are NO grandchildren
and there won?t be any?a difficult thing
to predict. The more names you add to the
TOD Deed, the more complicated the
situation could become."

So, for instance, if your mother wanted Jane's children Mac and Dodie
to inherit Jane's portion of the property in case Jane dies before
your mother does, your mother could name Mac and Dodie as contingent
beneficiaries.  If Jane dies and your mother does not redo the deed,
Jane's portion would be split among the remaining siblings rather than
going to Joe (since Joe is not named) if there are no contingent
beneficiaries, or to Mac and Dodie if they are named as contingent

Ohio State Bar Association

"Q.: What if the transfer beneficiary dies before the owner?
A.: A contingent Transfer-On-Death beneficiary can be designated. For
example, the Transfer-On-Death beneficiary could be "Mary Smith, if
living; otherwise John Smith." If no named beneficiary is living, the
real estate becomes part of the owner's probate estate."

It is also important to know that there are requirements for how a
deed must be formulated, and if it does not conform to the laws, it
will be thrown out and the estate will go through probate.

Agricultural Law and Estate Planning

"While the Transfer on Death Deed does away with the need for probate,
a property owner should not try to avoid the use of an attorney for
preparation of the deed. A deed that does not conform to the
requirements of the law will be deemed invalid, and the property must
then pass through the deceased's estate."


Ohio Law Library-- Frequently Asked Questions
Transfer on Death Deed

Ohio Department of Insurance-- page 6

Search terms:
transfer on death deed ohio
transfer on death deed ohio beneficiary's spouse

If you need any additional clarification, let me know and I'll be glad
to assist you.

Subject: Re: Transfer on Death Deed - Ohio - 2 Scenarios and Pros/Cons
From: probonopublico-ga on 12 Nov 2006 23:39 PST
Couldn't she specify that, on death, her property devolves only to her
surviving children?

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