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Understanding transfer on death instruments in Illinois

For many people, the home is their most valuable asset. In Illinois, without some kind of estate planning instrument, real estate usually has to go through probate upon the death of the last surviving owner named in the deed. For some people, creating an estate plan to address how their home should be handled should they pass away may seem overwhelming - especially when the home is the primary asset.

Illinois law has allowed homeowners to create a Transfer on Death Instrument to efficiently and effectively transfer ownership of the home to loved ones without the need to go through the probate process. A transfer on death deed is a simple document that does not provide the beneficiary with a current interest in the home. You can choose a relative, a charity, a trust or any other legal entity as your beneficiaries - or a combination of more than one set of beneficiaries.

A TODI Can Help Protect Property Now While Providing Efficient Transfer Later

That means the home remains protected from creditors of any beneficiary should your loved one run into financial difficulty. Moreover, the homeowner can change his or her mind in the future as to who will benefit from the transfer on death instrument without obtaining consent from the previously intended beneficiary.

Planning for the transfer of assets is often a difficult subject to think about. Estate planning generally involves thinking about mortality, and most people put off putting together a plan for the future. Similarly, some people may believe that their estate is not large enough to need putting a plan in place. In reality, without some form of plan in pace the state will decide who should receive your property -- whether that includes a comprehensive estate plan, a series of beneficiary designations and similar instruments or a transfer of death deed.

Estate plans are not always complex. A seasoned estate planning lawyer will know of a wide variety of tools and after reviewing your assets and goals, your attorney can explain the options available to efficiently help you to create a plan that fits your needs and desires. Estate plans do not necessarily have to be complex to be valuable in passing along your legacy to the beneficiaries of your choice.

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