I believe Transfer on Death titling of real estate was adopted in Illinois in 2012 ; while it is a process that other states have had for some time, it's fairly new for us -- and so I'm worried about titling my house this way, until I know that the process actually works. I know there are other ways to transfer property, but I'm looking not to have to pay for a Trust, or a Life Estate, or anything else if I can just do "transfer on death" titling. Can anyone tell me if this is working in Illinois (Cook County)?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
TODIs have been available for a short time in Illinois and there still is no standard form. If you decide to do one, make sure you use the services of an attorney who knows the law and preferably has done a few. It is not really appropriate for most estate plans, for several reasons, which your attorney will discuss with you. If you decide to go that route, make sure you also have a TODI revocation form prepared so you are ready to revoke if you change your mind, and that your beneficiary knows the requirements and is ready to file a notice of death affidavit and acceptance of the TODI within the very limited time frame allowed by law. Any filing beyond the statutory 30 days after death will void the instrument.
A Transfer on Death Instrument may be a suitable document in certain circumstances. Generally this means properly being left to children equally. Even with that situation the use of TODI's is still being done with caution as title insurance companies are not comfortable with many uncertainties in the existing law. It is my understanding that meetings between the Illinois legislators and title insurance company representatives have taken place to discuss changes to the existing law. However, as of yet these changes have not been agreed upon nor inacted.
As Ms. Goldstein suggests, you are best served using a knowledgeable estate planning or elder law attorney to prepare the TODI for you and/or to review your circumstances and make other recommendations.
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Estate Planning Attorney
I agree with everything my colleagues have said and would add that yes, it does in fact work. It seems that there are certain circumstances under which it works better than others, but yes it does work. The TODI must be prepared by an attorney, per the statute. If you consult with an attorney who is familiar with them, I'm sure she/he will go over the facts of your case and advise you appropriately. Keep in mind that you are not changing the title to your house; rather you are designating a beneficiary to receive it upon your death similar to a beneficiary designation on a financial account.
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