The Listen to Lawrence Letter: Is there an easy way to transfer a house at death?

June 12, 2023
April 6, 2023 • Volume 4 Issue 127
Is there an easy way to transfer a house at death? Read on…



Someone recently passed on some information that included the fact that people should have a Transfer On Death deed if they own a home. They said completing this document and filing it with the court saves your heirs thousands. According to them, this document allows you to transfer ownership of your home to your designee. All they need to do is take their ID and your Death Certificate and they will then have the deed signed over. Doing this will avoid the home having to go through probate.


Is this something that you recommend? I own my house jointly with my husband and I assumed it would just go to him (unless we died together and if that happened I assumed it would just go through my will). Is this TOD deed recommended if we don’t have an irrevocable trust yet (and how would it work if we do)?



Does your friend have a good tan? I suspect that she might, or to put it another way, I suspect your friend called you from her Florida home to give you this advice. Florida, and perhaps other states, allow you to essentially place a beneficiary on a deed, thereby avoiding probate at death. They call them “LADY BIRD DEEDS,” although I am not sure why. Unfortunately, NEW YORK has no such animal.

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