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Most of the complaints you listed over the use of TOD are in no way avoided by doing the exact same thing (leaving it all to a grand-niece) by using a Will instead (absent the ability to contest the Will).


Maybe. But if the money had been left to the grand-niece via the will, then it would have first been available to the estate to pay the expenses with grand-niece getting the remainder. At least that would have been a possibility which did not exist because of the TOD. Instead, the only other property, which was the condo, had to be sold to pay for the expenses. And the other heirs would have had a way to fight to have the cash used instead of selling the asset, but they didn't have that available to them because of the TOD as the account was therefore outside of the terms of the will.

Poor planning will muck up any plan.

I suspect this was more a case of DIY planning having unintended consequences vs. poor planning.
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