Transfer on Death Instruments (TODIs)
Transfer on death instruments (TODIs) can be used to add a beneficiary on a piece of real property without making the beneficiary an owner. In Illinois, TODIs are legally required to be drafted by an attorney. When the owner dies, the TODI allows the beneficiary to claim the property after recording the necessary paperwork. Transfer on death instruments are subject to being contested, much like a will. However, when there is a timely recorded TODI for a property, that property does not need to be probated, assuming the beneficiaries listed outlive the owner. Also, if the property is sold, the TODI cannot be used for another property. In addition, a properly executed TODI must be recorded prior to the property owner’s death for it to be valid, whereas a properly executed deed may be recoded after the grantor’s death. In most cases, the use of a land trust or living trust is preferable to a TODI.