The Importance of Estate Planning: What is a TODI?

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

After death, who owns your house? What does TODI even mean? Is a TODI the best option for me?



After death, who owns your house? Wouldn't YOU like to choose?


Without a proper plan in place, your estate could spend a lot of money in court costs and attorney's fees and time in probate court just to fight to just get permission to control the family home. Who wants to deal with that?


In 2012, Illinois adopted a method of transferring residential property by allowing for the transfer of such property after the owner's death, and a way to avoid probate of the home. The instrument created for this transfer is called a Transfer On Death Instrument, or more commonly referred to as a "TODI."


A TODI is a revocable instrument allowing the residential property owner to transfer their home (or any owned residential real estate) to one or more persons, or beneficiaries, upon the owner's death. Importantly, this method of transferring the property helps AVOID probate for the home.


TODIs are highly recommended for anyone who owns a home, or any residential property, and wants to leave their home/property for someone specific. For example, if a husband and wife, who own a home together, pass away and their children are the only left survivors of their estate, the children will have to go to court to get permission to either sell or own their parent's home if their parents did not have a proper plan in place. However, with a TODI, the parents can plan for the future and assign who they want their property to transfer to, like their children. Upon the death of the parents, the property then would transfer to the children without them having to go through probate. What an easy solution!


As mentioned above, TODIs are revocable - this means that the property owner has the freedom to change their mind regarding the transfer of their property during their lifetime - they can revoke the TODI, change the beneficiaries, or even sell the property. No interest in the property is ever transferred to any beneficiary until the death of the property owner. One of the main reasons why TODIs are favorable are because they give residential property owners flexibility, as well as a piece-of-mind, regarding what could happen to their property in case something was to occur.


If you think a TODI is the right fit for your estate plan, or to learn more information, set up an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys by calling our office at (630) 906-0144.

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