If you fear that your heirs will not be able to handle the process of probate or you simply want your heirs to receive your estate more quickly, the state of Ohio offers you the option of using a TOD Designation Affidavit (TOD) affidavit. This document serves as a way to transfer property to an heir once the original owner passes away, and can take place without going through probate.

The Ohio State Bar Association explains that a TOD designation bypasses probate because it directly transfers ownership once it is accepted. A TOD affidavit only takes effect when the original property owner dies. Still, it is important to note that using this kind of affidavit, even though it avoids probate, does not exclude federal estate taxes that may apply.

Some people may be concerned about naming an heir with a TOD affidavit. It is not uncommon for people to change their estate plans, and it is possible you may want to change the person that you want to inherit your property. State law permits you to revoke your initial heir designation and file a new TOD designation affidavit that records your new choice.

State law also allows for other estate planning contingencies. People who want more than one beneficiary to inherit property may name more than one person in an affidavit. You also can name people who can become beneficiaries if your original choice(s) pass away before you do. However, it is important that you list your heirs in the affidavit by name and not by a general designation such as “my offspring.”

TOD designation affidavits, like any part of estate planning, may require professional legal help to make sure they are legally sound and that your wishes will be honored. Since Ohio residents have differing wishes for their estates, only read this article as general information and not as legal advice for your situation.