A Lady Bird Deed is one tool used by a lawyer when the client’s estate includes real property. An estate planning attorney uses many tools or strategies to create effective estate plans for clients. An estate plan, or life care plan, covers many aspects of a person’s life including what type of end-of-life treatment they want, who will make medical or financial decisions for them if necessary, and how to dispose of property after death.
Also called an “enhanced life estate deed”, Lady Bird Deeds transfer real property to one or more beneficiaries after the owner of the property has passed away. This type of deed is used in a handful of states, including Florida, Michigan, and Texas.
Enhanced life estate deeds are used for several reasons, including:
Almost any legal process is not ‘one-size-fits-all.’ Some of the drawbacks to using an enhanced life estate deed may include:
Florida is one of the states that allows Lady Bird Deeds. Under the Lady Bird deed, an individual acquires an advanced “life estate” stake in real property while designating the “remainder” interest to another party upon their eventual passing.
The holder of the “life estate” maintains exclusive rights over the property throughout their lifetime. This unique arrangement permits them to sell the property, utilize it, or make decisions regarding the property, free from the constraints of approval from the remainder beneficiaries.
Interestingly, the remainder beneficiaries possess no inherent rights or authority concerning the property. While the life estate holder is alive, the beneficiaries hold no sway over property transactions.
If the Lady Bird deed stays valid and the person who owns the property doesn’t sell it while they’re alive, the property will automatically go to someone else when they pass away. This way, there’s no need to go through probate. Avoiding probate is thus one of the major benefits of a ladybird deed and it makes this a powerful estate planning tool.
As a Florida attorney board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates, Attorney John Mangan can evaluate your needs and help you develop the right estate plan. To schedule an appointment, call us at 772-210-3986 or fill out our Contact Form. Our office is conveniently located in Palm City, Florida.