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Vol 2001-9 | September, 2001

New Ohio Statute – “Transfer on Death” Deed

Ohio’s newest real property enactment, the “Transfer on Death” (“TOD”) deed, was effective August 29, 2000, without fanfare. Importantly, however, this new law will, literally, avoid probate and related costs!

By dramatically simplifying the process of transfers of any interest in real property on death., The new statutory deed form, when properly executed and recorded in the County Recorder’s office, accomplishes both of the following:

1. Creates a present interest as sole owner or tenant in common in the grantee and creates a “transfer on death interest” in the beneficiary or beneficiaries, and

2. Upon the death of the grantee, the deed vests the interest of the decedent in the beneficiary or beneficiaries named.

Intent. The transfer mechanism, described in “Transfer of property upon property owner’s death”, R.C. 5302.22, provides that any deed containing language indicating a clear intent to designate a transfer on death (“TOD”) beneficiary must be liberally construed to accomplish this intent. R.C. 5302.23 (A).

Basic Requirements. Any person who, under the Revised Code or Ohio common law, owns real property or any interest in real property as a sole owner or a tenant in common, may now create an interest in real property that is transferable on death, by executing and recording the new deed form. The new act requires that the deed: (1) convey the person’s entire, separate interest in the real property to one or more individuals, as grantees of the property or interest. Grantor must be named. Importantly, the grantor must also be named and included in the new deed recitation as a grantee. ( Omission of the grantor’s name as a grantee will result in an immediate transfer of grantor’s interest, before death, to the other grantees only, to the exclusion of the grantor.)

The deed must also: (2) designate one or more other persons, (other than the grantor) identified in the deed by name, as “transfer on death beneficiaries”. This new form, to be effective, does not have to be supported by any consideration, nor is it required to be delivered to the transfer on death (“TOD”) beneficiary or beneficiaries. (R.C. 5302.22 (B)).

It is strongly urged that legal counsel be retained to assist in implementing this procedure, in order to assure conformity with specific provisions, and mandatory statutory requirements for validity.

(To be continued in future issues.)

Author: J. NORMAN STARK is an Attorney-at-Law, a Registered Architect, (AIA, NCARB) Registered Landscape Architect, Interior Designer, Planner and Senior Appraiser (ASA), admitted to practice law before the Bar of Ohio, the US District Courts, Ohio and Illinois (Central Dist.), the US Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has had experience in business, Construction, Real Property, Litigation and Construction-Legal Project and Crisis Management.