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Transfer On Death - TOD Accounts

Many states have adopted the Uniform Transfer on Death Security Registration Act. TOD is an acronym which stands for transfer on death. The provisions of the Act permit securities and securities accounts to be registered so that ownership automatically passes to named beneficiaries upon the death of the owner or the last-to-die of multiple owners. In general, the result is a simplified, non-probate transfer similar to pay-on-death (POD) transfers of bank accounts. Assets transferred via TOD registration generally receive a full step-up in cost basis. In the case of multiple owners, the property must be titled so that ownership will vest in the survivor of them before the asset passes to the named beneficiary. Thus, the owners may hold the property as joint tenants, as tenants by the entireties, or as "owners of community property held in survivorship form." A disadvantage of multiple ownership is that all parties must sign for any future account changes.

Beneficiary designations determine who receives the assets at death. The Act allows naming a substitute beneficiary to receive the assets if the beneficiary fails to survive.

As a general rule, TOD registration as an estate planning tool is most useful in smaller estates, those without estate tax problems, or in situations involving a single estate owner with a single beneficiary. Estate owners are advised to seek the advice and counsel of a competent advisor in their state of residence before making any decisions regarding the use of TOD registration.


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We do not offer legal advice. All information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for proper legal advice. If you have legal questions, we recommend that you seek the advice of legal professionals.

Tax Disclaimer: To ensure compliance with IRS Rules, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein.

Copyright 2017 Wink Tax Services / Wink Inc.
Last modified: January 30, 2017