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Special Deed: Transfer on Death Deed--A means to convey real property rights without probate
Contributed by Emily Dressler from Deeds.com
Indiana outlines the rules for its transfer on death deed in
IC § 32-17-14 – the “Transfer on Death Property Act.” The act, which became
effective on July 1, 2009, gives owners/grantors of real estate in Indiana the
ability to initiate, but not complete, the transfer process to a designated
beneficiary while retaining absolute control in the property. This means the
owner (grantor) may sell, rent, mortgage or otherwise use the property with no
penalty for waste or obligation to the named beneficiary. In addition, because
the conveyance does not take effect until the owner’s death, he/she may change
or remove, at will, the primary beneficiary, contingent beneficiary, or how
multiple beneficiaries will take ownership (joint tenants with rights of
survivorship, tenants in common, etc.). IC 32-17-14-16 contains the process for
changing or revoking beneficiaries. Because of the potential for change, there
is no obligation for the beneficiary/grantee to provide consideration (money or
something else of value).
According to IC 32-17-14-11, an Indiana
transfer on death deed transfers the interest to the beneficiary only when
executed by the owner or the owner’s legal representative and recorded, during
the owner’s life, with the recorder of deeds in the county in which the real
property is situated.
Indiana’s transfer on death statute does not include a
specific form, but instead describes the wording for a beneficiary designation.
As a result, the conveyance may be included in either a warranty deed or a
quitclaim deed with equal validity.
In general, this is a useful, simple, and effective estate
planning tool for those who wish to convey real property rights with no need
for probate. Even so, carefully consider the impact that a transfer on death
deed may have on taxes, as well as eligibility for local, state, and federal
To learn more about real estate deeds in Indiana, and to
purchase a real estate deed, visit deeds.com.
For more information on specialty deeds, go to www.deeds.com.