A Florida “Lady Bird Deed” transfers real estate on the death of the Grantor(s) without probate. It permits the owner the use and control the property during the owner’s lifetime, and the property transfers upon death to the stated beneficiary. It is legal in the state of Florida.
Also referred to as an enhanced life estate deed. The lady bird deed is a version of a life estate deed with powers reserved to the original owner of the property.
A lady bird deed must include the Grantor, (The current owner of the property); The power to control the property during lifetime; a remainder beneficiary, (the person who will inherit the property after the owner’s death); a legal description and a homestead provision.
The Lady Bird Deed, which is a form of an enhanced life estate deed allows the property owner to keep control over the property during their lifetime and transfer the property upon death to a beneficiary. The enhanced life estate holder, also called the life tenant, is the person who has legal control of the property after the lady bird deed is executed. Almost always, the grantor is the life tenant.
This ownership is called a life estate because the ownership ends upon the death of the life tenant. Furthermore, the life estate is “enhanced” because the life tenant retains full power and authority to sell, convey, mortgage, lease, or otherwise manage and dispose of the property. In other words, the owner of the enhanced life estate can freely sell or mortgage the property without the permission of the remainder beneficiary.
The remainder beneficiary is the person or group of people who inherit ownership of the property upon the death of the life tenant. The legal interest of the remainder beneficiary vests when the life tenant dies. The remainder beneficiary has no ownership interest in the property during the lifetime of the life tenant.
A lady bird deed allows a property owner to transfer property upon death while avoiding probate. The deed is inexpensive, revocable, and simple compared to a trust.
Lady Bird Deeds should only be used with the advice of an experienced attorney who is familiar with estate planning and the various tools used to transfer estates upon death.