Arranging your legal and financial affairs before you pass can be a messy and stressful business. Who gets what? How much should I leave them? Should I include my greedy second cousin in my will? No matter which way you go about it, making these decisions  most likely won’t be easy, but it’ll be easier to do it yourself than leaving it for your loved ones to deal with after your death. Fortunately, there are some measures you can take now to lessen the burden on your family while they grieve.

What Is a TOD?

A transfer-on-death, or TOD, is a means of directly bequeathing your assets to beneficiaries without going through the process of probate. Without setting this up before your death, your will must go through a probate court proceeding to determine its legitimacy. After the lengthy and costly affair, your heirs may then receive what you’ve left them. A transfer-on-death essentially cuts out the middleman and doesn’t go into effect until your death.

What Does a TOD Cover?

Typically, transfer-on-death applies to most assets you would include in your will such as finances, real estate, property, and some personal items like vehicles. However, in Mississippi, transfer-on-death can only be applied to stocks and bonds, and a payable-on-death (POD) (essentially the same as TOD) can be applied to your bank accounts. Beneficiaries will not have access to either of these finances until you’re deceased.

Other Options

Although Mississippi doesn’t allow transfer-on-death for real estate and other assets, there are other options to ensure they’re not susceptible to probate. Joint ownership can be utilized by couples as long as “right of survivorship” is included in titles, deeds, and other documentation. Joint tenancy applies to married and unmarried couples who have real estate, vehicles, and bank accounts together. Tenancy by entirety only applies to married couples.

Living trusts can also be used to cover all of your assets and keep them from going through probate. You’ll need to set yourself up as the trustee while living and declare a successor trustee to handle transferring everything to your beneficiaries.

In matters such as this, it’s best to have a trusted and qualified legal advisor help you make arrangements. Contact us at Bosserman Law for assistance and advice on transfer-on-death Registration.