When planning for the future one thing to think about is how to transfer any real property that you own.  Your estate will incur additional costs and fees if you fail to properly plan ahead.  Costs like probate filing fees, administration costs, attorney fees can be very pricey.  Creating a Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit is one way to help avoid probate.

What is a Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit

The value of real property is usually a major factor forcing people to open up a probate estate.  As of December 28, 2009, Ohio replaced the transfer of death (TOD) deed with the Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit.  This new document effectuates the transfer of the real property immediately upon your death to the named beneficiary.  When the owner dies the beneficiary needs only to file an affidavit with the county recorder’s office to transfer real property.

Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit Requirements

Ohio Revised Code § 5302.22 sets forth the requirements to create the Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit.  The affidavit must contain the following:

  1. The legal description of the real property and the prior instrument reference number;
  2. The portion of the Affiant’s interest in the real property that is being transferred;
  3. The marital status of the Affiant.  If married, the spouse must sign the affidavit acknowledging that any dower interest he/she holds is subordinate to the vesting of title in the beneficiary or beneficiaries;
  4. A statement designating one or more persons as transfer on death beneficiary or beneficiaries.  A contingent beneficiary can also be named;
  5. The affidavit shall be verified by a notary public; and
  6. Properly file the affidavit with the county recorder’s office.

Transferring the Real Property

The transfer of the deceased owner’s interest in real property takes place when the Affidavit of Confirmation is filed.  See Ohio Revised Code § 5302.222  Similarly to the Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit, the Affidavit of Confirmation must be verified by a notary public.  Also, a certified copy of the deceased’s death certificate must accompany the affidavit.  The confirmation document needs to include the following information:

  1. The name and address of any surviving beneficiaries;
  2. The deceased owner’s date of death;
  3. The legal description of the real property;
  4. The name and address of any named beneficiary that did not survive the deceased owner and provide a certified copy of their death certificate;
  5. The affidavit shall be verified by a notary public; and
  6. Properly file the affidavit with the county recorder’s office.

Benefits to a Transferring Property via Affidavit

Finally, there are many benefits to setting up ownership of real property in a Transfer-On-Death Designation Affidavit.  The main advantage is avoiding probate.  A second benefit is that the owner does not give up any interest in the real property.  This is because he/she remains the only current owner of the real property.  The beneficiary only has an interest when the owner dies.  Additionally, you can change the named beneficiary at any time and as many times as you wish.