Catching up on readers' questions:

Q: What if a person has a transfer on death deed but changes his mind? How does he change the beneficiary on the deed?

A: Transfer on Death, or TOD, deeds are in fact deeds. They are recorded and although they don’t transfer title, they do add a beneficiary designation.

Fortunately, when you record a TOD deed, it doesn’t grant any current interests in the property. That means that the person making the deed hasn’t given up any rights in or to the property. All they have done is created an expectation for the beneficiary. The person can change his mind at any time and eliminate the beneficiary designation or change it to someone else.

Because a deed was recorded, you need to record a revocation or a new deed changing the TOD designation.

This is one of the big disadvantages of TOD deeds. If you name a beneficiary on your bank account and you change your mind, all you need to do is visit with one of the helpful folks at your local bank.

However, if you change your mind about a beneficiary designation on your real estate, you need to prepare and record a document with the recorder’s office.

Although the people that work at the recorder’s office are helpful, they can’t prepare the document for you. That likely means that you are going to have to pay some attorney fees.

Q: How do you put a boat into a trust?

A: Boats have titles just like cars. In order to transfer ownership of the boat into a trust, title needs to be transferred. You handle the title transfer just like any vehicle. You prepare the title and take it to you local Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Once the title transfer has been completed and the registration is issued, you’re done.

Remember, if the asset has a title, you can’t simply rely upon the personal property assignment. The personal property assignment is for things that don’t have titles like your furniture and appliances. If the asset is titled, you have to take the affirmative step and transfer title.

Also, I suggest that you notify your insurance company that you have transferred title to the boat, or car for that matter, into the trust. Ninety percent of the time, nothing will change. However, it is possible that your insurance company will want to list the trust as an additionally insured.

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Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to 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.