How to Prepare a Transfer on Death

Preparing a transfer on death is a simple way to ensure that the appropriate party receives your securities or other assets upon your death without the process of probate.

Transferring Securities

The process includes registering your securities or setting up an account that your transfer on death (TOD) beneficiary will gain upon your passing. While there is a Uniform TOD Security Registration Act, which provides the general rights and guidelines for this process, registration requirements vary by state.

Federal law does not regulate the manner in which securities may be registered, therefore you must see your state's requirements. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws website,, provides the details on the TOD Security Registration Act as used or modified by each state.

Transferring Other Assets

There are beneficiary forms for bank accounts, retirement accounts, and vehicles that must be filled out for a successful TOD. These forms are simple, and typically require only that the Certificate of Death be presented to complete the transfer after you have died. Again, regulations concerning the process will vary by state. Generally, if you are married, your surviving spouse may be entitled to any joint bank account funds and a portion of retirement accounts. For other types of accounts or vehicle TOD information, see your state's official website.


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