Land Registration is Always the First Issue

Land Registration
Land Registration

Land registration is always the first issue when I draft a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) in Minnesota.

Finding this information is very simple.  But, it is still a very significant step.

Land Registration Basics

Lets keep this simple.  Every piece of land (home, business, farm, rural, residence, etc.) is different and unique.  In theory, every piece of land or parcel is registered within the County it sits.

Luckily, all of us can visit our local County headquarters and acquire information on any piece of property inside the county.  In general, I look for written documentation showing the following:

  • Is a property titled Abstract or Torrens or something else,
  • Does a property have any attached or recorded liens, and
  • Acquiring the correct legal description.

In addition to other requirements, the above pieces of information are critical for every TODD.

Why Land Registration Matters

The above information matters because the transfer on death deed conveyance forms in Minnesota require the above information.

Because a death deed is a document that speaks on our behalf when we die, getting this information correct is of critical importance.

Abstract or Torrens in Minnesota

From an estate planning perspective, the advantages of property being titled under the Abstract system versus the Torrens system is moot.  Instead, unequivocally knowing which one applies to a person’s property is the primary objective.

As I mentioned above, we can find out very easily by:

  • Contacting the Recorder’s Office within a specific County, and
  • Acquiring paper records verifying the land registration system.

For those tempted to look on the internet or ask their neighbors, don’t do it.  Information on County websites are consistently wrong.  And, it is not uncommon for side by side properties being titled differently too (sorry Richfield).

Land Registration is Always the First Issue

Personally, I believe land registration is always the first issue because it requires work to verify.

In my experience, putting in this work helps find answers to the various other questions necessary to complete a MN transfer on death deed.

Failing to put in the work puts the whole process in jeopardy.