A transfer on death account is one type of asset that will pass differently than most others in the probate process. Transfer on death accounts in California can keep your estate planning intact while ensuring that your beneficiaries stay out of court. Approximately 57% of Americans today don’t have a trust or a will, which means that your family members will likely be headed to probate court for that court to make decisions about where your assets go.
Even many estates that do have wills will still go through the probate process, which can generate hostility among family members and can also burden your loved ones with additional court time and expenses.
A transfer on death account, on the other hand, automatically transfers assets to a named beneficiary when the holder of the account dies. ToD account holders also have some flexibility since many of them can name multiple beneficiaries and divide assets any way they desire.
It’s important to realize that any beneficiaries of the ToD account have no rights to this account while the owner is still alive, and these beneficiaries can be updated at any time. Transfer on death, therefore, establishes no rights until after creator passes away, because the beneficiaries cannot control or access the accounts. If you’re curious about how ToD accounts fit into your general estate planning, schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Pasadena today.