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What You Should Know About Lady Bird Deeds in Florida

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Aug 04, 2021 | 0 Comments

Lady bird deeds keep the current property owner in control while planning the title's transfer after their death

Transferring property to a beneficiary after death is an intricate and timing-consuming process. It also begs legal interventions because a review of the deceased person's will often becomes necessary to determine the rightful beneficiary

In many cases, the property owner will create a life estate deed before dying, making the transfer of property easier when the time comes. Lady bird deeds are a type of life estate deed that streamlines the process even further while ensuring the property owner retains control of the estate while still alive.

Although lady bird deeds are only legal in a few locations in the United States, they can be helpful for property owners who want to ensure their heirs gain control of their land quickly after their death. They also eliminate many legal hurdles grantees could experience.

Here's a look at some information you should have on lady bird deeds in the state of Florida.

Key Takeaways

  • Property transfer after death can be a complex issue
  • Lady bird deeds can make the outcome far more straightforward and less time-consuming
  • PeytonBolin can write your lady bird deed in a hurry

How lady bird deeds work in Florida

Lady bird deeds are only legal in a few states, including Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Michigan, and Florida. The gist is that these deeds allow the property owner to retain control during their lifetime but have the property automatically transfer to a named beneficiary upon their death.

With a traditional life estate deed, the beneficiary, or remainderman, would have to provide consent if the property owner wants to sell or transfer the property. The reason is that the remainderman becomes a stakeholder in the property once the life estate deed becomes legal.

However, with a lady bird deed in place, the property owner does not need this consent and can even change the beneficiary later on if they wish. 

Lady bird deeds provide property owners with more control while still alive and streamline property transfer after their death without probate.

If you're looking to set up a will but find your property is one of the items of value you want to include, a lady bird deed might be your best option.

The benefits of lady bird deeds

The main benefit of a lady bird deed is the control it provides for the current property owner. This owner has the power to sell or mortgage the property without the beneficiary's consent, unlike with a traditional life estate deed.

Lady bird deeds also give the owner the power to rescind or alter the agreement at any time while they are alive. The result is more flexibility and control while still having a legal document in place that will transfer the property title to a grantee immediately after the owner dies.

From the remainderman's perspective, lady bird deeds are helpful because they avoid the probate process, which can be expensive and lengthy.

Disadvantages of lady bird deeds

Despite the benefits of lady bird deeds, the documents aren't perfect. There are some issues that you'll want to consider before going down this path.

First, there is no form of asset protection in this agreement. As a result, creditors can place a levy or lien on the property if the owner has outstanding debts. 

There are constitutional restrictions in Florida, too, that the lady bird deed can't overrule. Therefore, a spouse or child still has legal rights to a property, even if a lady bird deed is in place. Basically, a property owner cannot use this deed to disinherit a family member. 

The unexpected death of the remainderman before the life tenant could throw the entire situation into disarray. This situation is particularly troublesome if the two individuals die within a short timeframe and the property owner doesn't have time to rescind or rectify the lady bird deed. In this scenario, property ownership could become unclear.

Finally, any changes the property owner decides to make later on will require more legal work. For example, although a lady bird deed is revocable, it requires altering your estate plan, including an attorney's intervention.

Get the help you need

Putting an estate plan together and getting the necessary legal documents in order can be challenging. It isn't a job you'll want to undertake alone because there's too much that can go wrong. You want your beneficiaries to get what they deserve, and even a simple mistake could make the situation far more challenging for them in the future. 

PeytonBolin is an award-winning real estate law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that can put a lady bird deed together for you quickly and efficiently. Our team will ensure your property is automatically transferred to your beneficiaries upon your death while allowing you to retain control during your lifetime. Contact PeytonBolin today to request a lady bird deed or go over your other real estate legal needs.

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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