transfer-on-death (TOD)

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Transfer-on-death (TOD) refers to named beneficiaries that receive assets at the death of the property owner without the need for probate, facilitating the executor's disposition of the property owner's assets after their death. This is often accomplished through a transfer-on-death deed.

The beneficiary of the TOD may be an individual or an organization, such as a charity. Alternate or successor beneficiaries can also be named in case the first beneficiary dies. Beneficiaries of the TOD do not have access to assets until the asset owner dies.

The Uniform Transfer-on-Death Securities Registration Act provides that owners may designate beneficiaries for their stock, bond or brokerage accounts. In some states, vehicles and real estate can also be transferred by TOD. 

[Last updated in September of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]