Q: If a person executes a transfer on death deed, can it be changed or revoked later? If so, how does a person change it?  

A: Yes, a transfer on death deed (TOD deed) can be changed at a later date. A TOD deed is not irrevocable. The grantor hasn't given up any rights or transferred any interests in the real estate so they can change it any time.

Remember that a TOD deed simply adds a beneficiary to real estate. It's not unlike naming a payable on death beneficiary to your bank account. All the TOD deed creates is an expectation, not an actual interest in the real estate.

A TOD deed has to be recorded to be effectual. That means it has to be filed with the county recorder's office. That also means that if the grantor changes her mind, she has to file something with the recorder's office. That change is usually in the form of a new TOD deed.

I suppose that is my one concern with TOD deeds: they aren't easy to change. If you change your mind about a POD provision on your savings account, you can simply go to your local bank branch and be assisted by a friendly customer service representative. To change a TOD deed you are likely going to need an attorney to make sure it gets done correctly. That's not an insurmountable obstacle but it is an obstacle.

Q: Can I give my children a power of attorney that they can only use when I need help? I don't want to give up the ability to do things for myself yet.

A: First it's important to understand that you don't give up any authority when you execute a power of attorney. All the power of attorney does is authorize someone to act on your behalf in a fiduciary capacity. It doesn't mean that you can't continue to do things for yourself.

If you are still uncomfortable authorizing someone to help out now, you can execute a springing power of attorney. A springing power of attorney doesn't grant any authority until some event occurs. Usually the event is the incapacity of the principal. Once the principal has been determined by a doctor to be unable to handle their affairs, the power or attorney "springs" and the attorney in fact is then granted the authority under the power of attorney.

Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at www.nwi.com. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Chrisyugolaw@gmail.com. Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.

0
0
0
0
0