Transfer on Death Designation

Author

Weber Group at Raymond James

Posted on

Sep 20, 2021

Book/Edition

Pennsylvania - Greater Pittsburgh Area

Ever wonder how you can immediately transfer securities to your loved ones once you passed?
If so, you should consider a TOD designation. By making a transfer on death (TOD) designation for securities (such as individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds, or trading accounts), you will transfer ownership of these immediately at your death to the people you designated. This can be very helpful when there are limited funds for funeral expenses, helping to provide the beneficiaries an insurance like death benefit.

One thing you want to keep in mind is, that although referred to as a will substitute, a transfer on death (TOD) designation can be used only to transfer certain assets. Some states will allow you only to transfer securities, while other states allow TOD designations to transfer land, cars, and other assets.
An income tax consideration to keep in mind is that the recipients basis will be stepped-up
(or stepped-down) to the value of the securities (or other asset) transferred using a transfer on death (TOD) designation at the time of your death. A step-up reduces the resulting taxable gain if the recipient sells the securities.

Strengths to a TOD designation:

Can help you avoid or minimize the expense of probate
Minimizes delays in the transfer of property
Discourages interference with your plans to distribute your property
Circumvents some statutory limits on your power to transfer property
You retain control over the securities or other assets and can revoke your designation until your death
Simple and inexpensive to create


Tradeoffs:

Does not reduce estate taxes
Does not avoid other costs arising at death
Recipients of the property are not protected from your creditors

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Erin Weber, CFP, Vice President, Investments with Weber Group at Raymond James.

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