A lady bird deed, also called an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, allows you to live in and maintain control over a property until you pass away. Additionally, lady bird deeds allow their owners to revoke or change them at any time.
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If you’re like most people, your family home is at the center of many cherished memories. Rather than it going on the market when you die, you might decide to leave it to one of your children. It’s as simple as writing it into your will, right? Well, not exactly.
Although you can technically use a will to leave your property to someone else, it’s not a savvy legal move. That’s because everything in your will must pass through probate, a legal process that validates the will and ensures it is administered according to the law.
While that might not sound too bad, probate can end up being a lengthy and expensive process that delays asset distribution to your heirs. Additionally, everything that goes through probate becomes public record, including your beneficiaries, which can create privacy concerns.
Before you start stressing, rest assured—there is a much easier way to transfer property. By using a lady bird deed (which is only authorized in a handful of states), you can bypass probate altogether and pick up a few advantages along the way. However, these deeds are not ideal for everyone, which is why it’s critical to work with an experienced lady bird deed attorney.
Keep reading to learn the best ways to leave your property to someone else in Florida while protecting your assets.
At the Medley Law Firm, we know that talking about what will happen to your assets after you die isn’t the most comfortable topic, but it is important. Call our compassionate estate planning attorneys at (850) 607-7890 to secure your family’s financial future today.
Simply put, a lady bird deed offers a simple, affordable way to transfer property to your loved ones when you die. Also called an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, it allows you to live in and maintain control over the property until you pass away. Additionally, lady bird deeds allow their owners to revoke or change them at any time, unlike basic life estate deeds.
For many people, avoiding probate is reason enough to pursue a lady bird deed. However, that is far from the only advantage it offers. When properly structured, a lady bird deed may also afford you the following benefits:
Another big advantage that the lady bird deed has over other estate planning tools is that it’s typically very inexpensive. However, it’s not right for every situation.
Like any other deed, will or trust, lady bird deeds also come with some disadvantages. These are some of the drawbacks associated with them:
In addition to these potential disadvantages, lady bird deeds can cause confusion for banks and title companies that don’t understand the non-vested nature of the remainder interest. The beneficiaries of a property conveyed through a lady bird deed may also run into complications if they attempt to sell or mortgage the home right away.
Although lady bird deeds operate in a fairly straightforward way, there are many legal caveats to consider. If you have questions about this type of deed, the best thing to do is consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. In the meantime, read through our frequently asked questions:
This deed got its nickname when President Lyndon B. Johnson used it to transfer property to his wife, Lady Bird Johnson.
If you’re a person who likes to do things for yourself, we understand the allure of trying to prepare your own lady bird deed. However, legal documents—including lady bird deeds—are not good candidates for DIY projects, as one small mistake can have enormous legal repercussions.
Although the State of Florida does not technically require a lady bird deed to be recorded, it is a good idea to file it with the clerk of court so that it is presumed to be delivered promptly (a requirement for a valid deed).
One of the major perks of the lady bird deed is that it is able to be revoked; that’s the component that makes it an “enhanced” life estate deed.
An experienced lady bird deed attorney can help you prepare your deed with accuracy and speed, ensuring all the details have been accounted for and that you’ve considered every relevant factor.
Whether you need to prepare a lady bird deed, a different type of deed, a will or a trust, an estate planning specialist is the best way to ensure you get the desired results.
At Medley Law Firm, we have a proven track record in Pensacola and beyond. When you need to make financial preparations and secure your legacy, there’s no better place to turn.
Ready to get started? Contact us online to schedule a case evaluation or give us a call at (850) 607-7890 to speak with a knowledgeable legal professional today.
Medley Law Firm is an Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate firm in Pensacola, Florida that offers in-person professional services from Pensacola to Panama City and virtually across the entire state.Contact Us