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Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designation Affidavit to a non-profit charity

Toledo, OH |

In Ohio, you can have a Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designation Affidavit (for a house) go to a person or persons. But what about to a charity? Can I have this document set up so my house goes to my favorite non-profit charity when I die? Thanks so much for your help and time!

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Attorney answers 3


I am not a fan of TOD transfers for two reasons: First, because Ohio tried this once before with TOD deeds and it created such a mess the legislature had to punt and re-do the statute. Second, because it is harder to keep track of and remember extraneous documents and prior decisions as we get older and lose memory and capacity. Because of those concerns, I would counsel my clients to make the gift by Will or Trust and not by a TOD Affidavit.

Having said that, I am curious about the answer to your question, because it depends on the definition of "person" applicable to the TOD law. I don't know if "person" is intended to include an "entity", but I'm curious enough to do a bit of research, and will add a comment to this answer when I find out.

Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email CLH@HUDDLAW.COM. Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.

CL Huddleston III

CL Huddleston III


Okay, here is the answer. It is our conclusion that you can use a TOD Affidavit to name a charitable beneficiary, but only if it is a single charity and not multiple charities. And if you were my client, I would advise you to make your gift by will or trust and not by Affidavit.

Steven J. Fromm

Steven J. Fromm


Great information Charles and I wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion. This poster would be well served to speak with you directly about this estate plan.

Justin Jay Watling

Justin Jay Watling


I do not agree that you need to limit the designation to a single entity. I do agree that if multiple parties are designated, then it likely will be a better approach to use a Trust (but not a Will). The TODD Affidavit has a useful place in estate planning.


I agree with Mr. Huddleston, PODs can distort an estate plan. You need to get with a good estate planning attorney who can look at all your assets and determine your goals so that the proper documents can be drafted and that actually work.

For more on estate planning and other issues, see Estate Planning Mistakes: 5 Not So Easy Pieces at Please hit the like button at the end of the article if you found it helpful.

Hope this helps.

Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336, his email address is , for more tax, estate and business articles visit his website and blog

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is <> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


Yes. A "person" is broadly defined in the O.R.C. to include entities. A living person is referred to as an "individual". Also, the statute referes to a beneficiary which survives the Owner or "is in existence" at the Owner's date of death. So, the "in existence" language presumes an entity designation.

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