≡ Menu
≡ Menu

Using a Lady Bird Deed in Florida [Overview, Pros and Cons]

Lady Bird Deeds in Florida

Enhanced Life Estate Deeds, T.O.D. Deeds and Lady Bird Deeds in Florida

Over the last twenty years or so, enhanced life estates have become an increasingly popular estate-planning tool in Florida.   Created by the memorably named “Lady Bird deed” (or the less catchy “TOD deed”), the surge in popularity has mostly arisen from two helpful features.  First and foremost, Lady Bird deeds allow real estate to transfer outside of probate, even if the original owner retains possession for life.  And, as a consequence, an enhanced life estate, or Lady Bird Deed in Florida provides significant advantages in Florida Medicaid planning.

It’s important to remember, though, that, while Lady Bird deeds can be exceptionally useful under the appropriate circumstances, they are a complex legal tool and also have some drawbacks.  This article will take a look at some of the features of Lady Bird deeds, their pros and cons, and their history and current trends.  But, before deciding if an enhanced life estate is right for your estate plan in Florida (or your home state), you should consult with an experienced estate-planning attorney in Florida or wherever you are located.

What is an Enhanced Life Estate in Florida

A “life estate” is an interest in real estate which the owner (or “life tenant”) retains until his or her death, at which point title automatically transfers to a successor designated in the deed (the “remainderman”).  For the life tenant to transfer or mortgage the property during life, the remainderman must provide consent.  Therefore, a life estate is a limited ownership interest.  When the deed is recorded, the remainderman receives an immediately effective ownership interest in the property.  Title to the real property in Florida doesn’t transfer to the remainderman until later, but the right to receive title in the future vests now.

A life estate becomes “enhanced” when it is not limited by the need for the remainderman’s consent.  A Lady Bird deed does this by expressly reserving the life tenant’s right to transfer, mortgage, or otherwise use the property as he or she wishes, regardless of the remainderman’s future interest.  Unlike with a traditional life estate, the owner of an enhanced life estate has no risk of liability to the remainderman for any transfer or waste of the property.

Enhanced life estates have been around for a long time and, in modern usage, are most commonly associated with Florida, along with Michigan and Texas to a lesser extent.  The name “Lady Bird deed” derives from a hypothetical used by a Florida law professor to explain how enhanced life estates work.  In the professor’s example, the parties were designated as “Lyndon” and “Ladybird” – a reference to President and First Lady Lyndon Baines and Ladybird Johnson.

How Enhanced Life Estates Work in Florida

In practice, an enhanced life estate works similarly to a bank account with a POD (“payable on death”) designation or a retirement account designated as TOD (“transfer on death”) in Florida.  The life tenant retains complete, unfettered control over the property during life, including the right to change the remainderman (which the holder of a traditional life estate cannot do absent consent).  Then, upon the life tenant’s death, title automatically vests in the remainderman, without any need for probate in Florida.

Notably, a Lady Bird deed becomes effective immediately upon its recording in the county land records.  But the transfer to the remainderman does not become effective until the occurrence of a future event (i.e., the life tenant’s death).  By way of comparison, a traditional life estate is a current transfer of a future interest – rather than a future transfer, as with an enhanced life estate.  It’s a subtle distinction, but it has considerable implications.

Why Florida Lady Bird Deeds Are Useful

During life, a Lady Bird deed keeps the life tenant in control of the property.  So, if things change and the life tenant needs to sell or mortgage the real estate, he or she doesn’t need the remainderman’s blessing.  Or if for some reason a life tenant decides that someone else should ultimately inherit the property, the remainderman can be changed.

Upon a life tenant’s death, an enhanced life estate avoids the need for probate.  Avoiding probate in Florida and elsewhere is advantageous in and of itself because it circumvents the considerable time and transaction costs associated with probate court.  It can sometimes take months, or even years, before a successor formally takes title through probate, but a Lady Bird deed allows title to pass automatically.

For Medicaid beneficiaries, keeping a property out of probate becomes even more valuable.  In general, Medicaid is empowered to act as a creditor of a recipient’s estate, allowing the Florida Medicaid Estate Recovery Program to seek reimbursement by filing a claim against estate assets.  A Florida recipient’s primary residence is exempt from Medicaid reimbursement, but non-homestead real estate in Florida (such as, for instance, a rental property) can be subject to Medicaid liens.  However, Medicaid only seeks reimbursement from assets within the estate.  A property held as an enhanced life estate, though, is not within the estate because it already automatically transferred to the remainderman upon death.  Thus, using a Lady Bird deed can allow heirs to inherit a property that might otherwise have been sold to pay a Medicaid reimbursement claim.

Within the context of Florida Medicaid-planning and real estate, an enhanced life estate is considered in the Medicaid asset test like other real estate.  If a property qualifies as a homestead in Florida, it won’t be included as a countable asset.  For purposes of the five-year lookback period (Florida Medicaid counts certain assets transferred within five years of application toward the asset test), a property subject to a Lady Bird deed is not counted as a transfer – and is therefore not a countable asset.  Thus, because the life tenant retains control over the property and the remainderman’s interest is essentially voidable, a future interest granted via a Lady Bird deed within five years of a Medicaid application won’t hinder the grantor’s eligibility.  That is generally not the case with a traditional life estate.

Lady Bird deeds also offer some valuable tax and asset-protection advantages in Florida.  Eligible Florida homesteads are protected from both creditor attachment and real estate tax increases resulting from a higher assessed value.  A property subject to an enhanced life estate retains both homestead protections.  A property transferred to a trust or to a third party might not.

Moreover, because a remainderman’s interest is revocable, transfer of the future interest via a Lady Bird deed does not count as a “gift” for federal gift tax purposes.  For the same reason, a remainderman’s creditors cannot attach the property as long as the life tenant retains control.  On the other hand, a vested remainder interest derived from a traditional life estate potentially qualifies as a “gift” and is potentially attachable by creditors.

Enhanced Life Estate Deed Pros and Cons

Drawbacks to Enhanced Life Estates in Florida

No estate-planning strategy is without some disadvantage, and enhanced life estates are no exception.  Florida’s constitutional homestead protections include rights reserved to spouses and minor children.  Real estate transfers that infringe on any of these rights – including transfers made via Lady Bird deeds – are void.  So, property owners with spouses or minor children need to take special care when executing a Lady Bird deed – or might not be able to use an enhanced life estate at all.

Another potential risk is that, if a remainderman passes away prior to the life tenant, the remainder interest may have to pass through probate.  Fortunately, though, there are clever strategies for avoiding this problem in most cases.

A property subject to an enhanced life estate may also be more difficult to sell than a property held in fee simple or in a Florida revocable living trust.  Although the life tenant has the legal right to sell the property, a prospective purchaser (or, perhaps more realistically, the title insurance company) may require a disclaimer or quit claim deed from the remainderman to ensure clear title is transferred.  For this and other reasons, it is vital that a Lady Bird deed unmistakably, unambiguously reserve all of the relevant rights.  Scrivener’s error could invalidate the deed, defeating the entire purpose.  So, if you’re going to use a Lady Bird deed, it’s very important to have it prepared by a qualified attorney with Florida property law experience.

Enhanced Life Estate Trends in Florida and Nationally

Enhanced life estates originally arose under the common law and were only recognized in a few states – notably including Florida.  Beginning in the 1990’s, more states started recognizing TOD deeds by statute as their usefulness in estate and Medicaid planning became increasingly apparent.  States with statutory frameworks have tended to favor the term “TOD deed,” rather than “Lady Bird deed,” which more commonly refers to deeds relying on the common law, such as in Florida.

In 2009, the Uniform Law Commission proposed the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act, a model statute aimed at achieving jurisdictional conformity within states recognizing enhanced life estates.  Notwithstanding the proposed uniform law, the various state statutes addressing TOD deeds are not always consistent, and a sizeable minority of jurisdictions still do not recognize enhanced life estates.  However, most states that haven’t already are likely to recognize TOD deeds in the future, as citizens of states without enhanced life estates are at a disadvantage in Medicaid planning.

The law relating to Lady Bird deeds is not as developed as other areas of property law, and   improperly used or carelessly prepared deeds are likely to lead to unforeseen consequences.  Medicaid and estate planning in Florida are complicated areas of the law, so it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney before attempting an enhanced life estate or other estate-planning strategy.

Steve Gibbs, Esq.

61 comments… add one
  • Dave Barnes October 31, 2019, 10:23 pm

    Can a revocable trust be named as the grantee in a ladybird deed? My wife and I are Wisconsin residents and have revocable trust. Our Wisconsin attorney told us we should quit claim our Florida vacation home into the trust. I am wondering if we can simply use a ladybird deed and name the trust as the grantee? That way we can keep the home in our personal names and not have it go into the trust until we have both died. There is no mortgage on the Florida home. Thank you. Dave Barnes

    • gibbslawfl November 1, 2019, 12:43 pm

      Hello Dave, thanks for commenting. The short answer is I think the quitclaim of the FL real property into your WI trust is a better option than using the ladybird deed. A rev trust in general is basically an alter ego of you and your wife, so the ladybird deed would offer no real benefit in this circumstance. Moreover, using a revocable trust as the beneficiary of a ladybird deed isn’t normally done in my experience and may present a few complications upon death. Those are my thoughts, especially given the fact that there is no mortgage on the FL property. Let us know if we can assist with the quitclaim by e-mailing Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Denise Guillemette November 14, 2019, 4:18 pm

    If the remainder man named in the Enhanced Life Estate dies prior to the Life Tenant, instead of going through the remainder man’s probate (to remove the name), couldn’t the Life Tenant file an Amended Enhanced Life Estate, or change the name of the remainder man name to someone else, and then file and record the revised doc with clerk of court?

    • gibbslawfl November 16, 2019, 3:07 pm

      Hello Denise, thanks for commenting. I think filing an amended enhanced life estate may work, but also, depending upon what you mean, may be unnecessarily complicated. An easier way may be to simply record a new deed. If you need help with this, let us know by e-mailing Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com or calling 239-415-7495.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

    • Cheryl Davis December 31, 2019, 2:43 am

      If a lady bird deed is already filed in florida and the and granter of the deed wants to remove a person off the lady bird deed the easiest way is to just file a new one is this correct or will it complicate things more with serval deeds filed and does the first deed file is that canceled and has no weight any more thanks

      • gibbslawfl December 31, 2019, 7:11 pm

        In general the easiest way if it is a true lady bird deed would be to file a new one. Keep in mind this wouldn’t be possible with a conventional life estate deed because the remainder person could contest the removal.

        Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • inman paul spires December 11, 2019, 3:27 pm

    I have a enhanced life estate lady bird deed , drawn up and legally done and recorded ,, while my mother is in a nursing home in florida ,, I did this so medicade would not take my land after mother dies in there medicade recovery system ,, am I protected now because its complete and recorded

    • gibbslawfl December 16, 2019, 2:14 pm

      Hello, thanks for reading and commenting. Without getting in to what Medicaid will do, because this is impossible to predict with total certainty, often the best possible choice is a properly prepared enhanced life estate deed.

      Best to you.

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • LISA DUBENION December 17, 2019, 8:35 am

    I’m thinking about doing a Lady Bird Deed and naming my children as the remaindermen, Would this affect their ability to get assistance as first time home owners if they have an ownership interest in the property?
    Thanks.
    Lisa

    • gibbslawfl December 31, 2019, 6:57 pm

      Hi Lisa, good question. In my experience the kids interest would not be vested yet and thus would not affect their ability to get basic FHA assistance. Let us know if we can help you with this by connecting with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

      • Mary perkins February 17, 2020, 1:16 pm

        Would it be possible to give my live-in boyfriend a life estate with a lady bird deed and then after he dies have the remainder transfer to my son?

        • gibbslawfl February 17, 2020, 4:55 pm

          Hello Mary, thanks for commenting. There are too many factors to consider to respond and I’m concerned that if I offer feedback, you’ll proceed with partial information and end up an a bad situation. So I’ll go this route…if you want your “boyfriend” to be able to live in you real property for life and then the remainder to go to you son, you might consider doing this with a trust and an independent trustee. This way, you could maintain control of the real property in your estate and also put some parameters on the use such as him paying the expenses. On the other hand, if you do a deed to your boyfriend, you’ve just lost control of your property. I strongly suggest you connect with an expert before doing anything and you are always welcome to reach out to Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

          Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Lawrence Oxley January 4, 2020, 8:54 am

    Thinking of doing the enhanced ladybird, if it has too be done through a lawyer v other service with a small estate. What are usual fees? Does homestead get messed up?

    • gibbslawfl January 13, 2020, 2:05 pm

      Hello Lawrence, thanks for reading and commenting. Because this is a complicated deed, I do highly suggest you have a lawyer do it. Usual fees vary based upon complexity. You’ll need to schedule an initial discussion with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com. Done properly, this shouldn’t impact the homestead.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Lynn Anderson January 14, 2020, 2:23 pm

    Hello,
    This deed was mentioned to me by a friend, thanks so much for the article. I am also thinking of doing a ladybird deed, may I ask what would be the impact on the property taxes be once the homestead is passed to my daughter (remaindermen). Would they drastically increase (as in a sale) or remain relatively the same?

    Thx, Lynn

    • gibbslawfl January 23, 2020, 11:19 pm

      Hello Lynn, you’re welcome, it’s nice to hear great feedback. My experience is that the property taxes can be reassessed upon passing so they certainly could go up. You might do some inquiries with your county recorder (where the real property is located) to ask what the standard reassessment practice is.

      Best to you.

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Gloria mcCarthy January 25, 2020, 9:07 pm

    Mr. Gibbs,
    It sounds like it is best not to have a Lady Bird deed if both husband and wife are living .
    Should you have 2 deeds and wait till death do us part, and then file one?

    • gibbslawfl January 27, 2020, 11:31 am

      Good morning Gloria and thanks for commenting. Actually whether you would want a lady bird deed as a married couple would depend on your goals. It actually is very important if you and your spouse have kids from prior marriages. Best to do a consult if you’re considering this option. You can reach out to Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com to schedule.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Bill January 29, 2020, 9:29 am

    Two questions:
    1. My main residence is titled to my wife and me. Can we execute a Lady Bird deed such that the remainder(s) could only make their claim upon the proof of both owners dying.
    2. I have a vacation home. Can I use a lady bird deed on both my primary residence and the vacation home?

    • gibbslawfl January 30, 2020, 12:39 am

      Hello Bill, the short answered, for educational purposes only, is offered as follows:

      1. You wouldn’t need to do this, generally speaking, because each spouse would succeed the other and the real property would pass to the designated beneficiaries upon the last spouse’s passing. However, there are some other things to suggest, such as the surviving spouse’s ability to change the deed… Homestead rights also need to be considered. Thus, you need expert help with these…

      2. Yes, any real property in general can be transferred with a lady bird deed.

      3. The “not filing the deed” thing is an old tactic…I’m not sure why one would do this intentionally as it is risky and there are better alternatives. Again, I highly advise you to seek expert help to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Bill January 29, 2020, 5:55 pm

    Is a Lady Bird deed still valid if it is properly notarized and witnessed but not filed with the court until after the grantor dies?

  • Pat January 30, 2020, 4:26 pm

    When considering a Lady Bird Deed, is it possible to designate three people as the remainderman?

    • gibbslawfl January 31, 2020, 10:42 am

      Hello Pat, thanks for commenting. Yes it is possible done the right way. However, the question becomes whether a simple trust is a better solution at that point due to the flexibility offered vs the inflexibility of a deed. Let us know if we can help by connecting with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Gerald. Menna February 4, 2020, 10:39 am

    My condo association has a rule that new buyers can not rent out the unit for 2 years .
    When my wife and I pass my will states that my daughter becomes the owner.
    Will she have to wait 2 years before she can rent it or will a lady bird deed by pass that rule and give her the right to rent and not wait 2 years

    • gibbslawfl February 6, 2020, 5:23 pm

      Hello Gerald, thanks for reading and commenting. Unfortunately, without looking at your governing documents I have no idea. It’s possible if they refer to “buyers” and your daughter is not defined as one…then maybe not. They lady bird deed is most likely irrelevant in the discussion…it is whether she is considered under community rules to be a “buyer”. Again, I’m only speculating and offer some thoughts for educational purposes only. Let us know if you’d like an individual consultation by connecting with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • LORNA PARSARD February 5, 2020, 9:46 pm

    Can I name a minor on a lady bird deed.?

    • gibbslawfl February 6, 2020, 5:27 pm

      Hello Lorna, thanks for commenting. My opinion is that if there is a minor, a revocable trust will be a more appropriate vehicle to use because you can appoint an independent trustee to manage the real property for the minor’s benefit. This approach may also benefit you in other ways if there are other assets that you’d like to be used for either your and the minor’s support. Let us know if you’d like a personal discussion to explore options in greater detail by e-mailing Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Bruce Wehrman February 8, 2020, 11:12 am

    If one is named as an REM on a recorded lady bird deed in Florida, is that person considered an owner to the COA or HOA?

    • gibbslawfl February 8, 2020, 3:55 pm

      Hello Bruce, thanks for commenting. It’s tough to comment without seeing the deed but I believe that refers to a remainder person (beneficiary). If it’s really a lady bird deed than someone with a remainder interest wouldn’t be considered an owner. As always, this feedback can only be offered for educational purposes and you shouldn’t act without obtaining the advice of an licensed estate planning attorney in Florida.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Paula February 11, 2020, 11:38 pm

    Hi
    If I, The life tenant , die will my remainderman be responsible for my personal bills such as credit cards etc? Can the life estate be sued by creditors when I pass?
    Thank you

    • gibbslawfl February 11, 2020, 11:50 pm

      Hello Paula, thanks for commenting. If you have unpaid creditors during your lifetime, they could obtain a judgment and put a lien on that real property in my opinion. If that happened, the remainderman could be responsible to pay the liens. Otherwise, I think it’d be tough for the creditor to try to hold the remaindermen responsible if those steps hadn’t been taken during your lifetime. Tough call.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Marla February 13, 2020, 12:07 pm

    If a homestead is left to two minor children in a lady bird deed, the life tenant (mom) passes, what happens to the property at that point?
    Note-There is a will with a Minor’s Trust built in, which names a guardian and trustee.
    After reading the comments above, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to do a new deed and create a living trust solely for the homestead property….. what do you think?

    • gibbslawfl February 13, 2020, 7:20 pm

      Hello Marla, thanks for reading and commenting. The short answer is yes, when there are minor children a living trust a superior way to plan due to the huge amount of flexibility that can be built into the trust agreement. Also, when children are young, nothing needs to be set in stone and it is easier to change a living trust because you don’t need to record a new deed…just amend the trust. Lots of other reasons to consider in a private conversation. Feel free to reach out to Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq

  • Kim Eads February 13, 2020, 6:26 pm

    My father setup a ladybird deed with my brother and I as remaindermen. Now that he had died, I gave a copy of the death certificate to the county to record. They said I need to give them a ‘deed form’ too so they can register that. What type of deed would that be? Would that be something a title company can do for me? Do my brother and I technically own the house now?
    Thank you, Kim

    • gibbslawfl February 13, 2020, 7:22 pm

      Hello Kim, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately things can vary greatly between counties and it is really tough to commenting without seeing the response or reviewing the deed. You might need a lawyer to get this done as title companies don’t advocate…hard to say. Feel free to reach out to Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Karen February 15, 2020, 3:20 pm

    Are there any gift tax consequences when using a Lady Bird Deed in Florida?

    • gibbslawfl February 17, 2020, 4:46 pm

      Hello Karen, thanks for reading and commenting. That is a question that I’ll defer to your tax adviser on. For educational purposes only though, you could contend that there is no gift with a lady bird deed because the real property is still in the ownership and control of the grantor who retains the right to sell the real property. Thus, the interest conveyed is not yet “vested” to the beneficiary/s and this equates to “no gift”.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Layne February 16, 2020, 11:32 pm

    My aunt, with no spouse or children, just passed away and the next of kin just realized, after looking at the property appraisers website, that a neighbor acquired and completed a form from a website changing my aunts deed to a res. Life estate deed naming the neighbor and her husband as grantees. The form was notarized with no identification, but rather, as “Personally known” and then files with the county. Is this contestable? My aunt had expressed other wishes for her home to several family members over recent years.

    • gibbslawfl February 17, 2020, 4:50 pm

      Hello Layne, real estate litigation isn’t really my area. I general, it sounds fishy and as most things, could be contested on the grounds of something like fraud or elder abuse…I suggest you talk with an attorney who focuses on these areas in a consultative setting to get a better idea of your chances of prevailing.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • HAROLD KENNEDY February 24, 2020, 11:31 pm

    A single woman has executed an ehanced life Estate deed (the property is her personal residence) with her daughters as remainder persons. The property has been sold and all three have signed the sales contract. The closing statement will reflect the mother’s name, The deed will list the mother conveying her fee simple interest followed by the names of each daughter. Is this correct?
    Hal

    • gibbslawfl February 25, 2020, 2:10 pm

      Hello Harold and thanks for commenting. Although I want to help, I’m going to decline a response because this is most definitely a question that is oriented toward legal representation and not a blog comment. I highly recommend you seek professional advice on this as there are lots of ways to do it wrong.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Jeff March 2, 2020, 5:02 pm

    Thank you for your article. My mom is in a nursing home and a lady bird deed was made (3 children as remainders) as part of her medicaid plan. My father is deceased and mom keeps wanting to sell the house. If we do that what happens to the proceeds? To medicaid? My sister has a small personal services contract, can that be utilized?

    • gibbslawfl March 3, 2020, 2:45 pm

      Jeff, thanks for commenting. Yours is a situation not easily addressed in a blog answer. Generally, the proceeds from the sale of a lady bird deed will go to your mom as she reserved the right to sell. Personal services contracts can be utilized but are heavily scrutinized. An alternative may be to turn the home into a rental…as this is a Medicaid exception. Let us know if we can help further by e-mailing Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Yvonne March 4, 2020, 1:36 pm

    My mother wrote in her will for her property to be transferred to me. The Will is notarized. We also had a Quit Claim Deed written up as well as a Lady Bird Deed. Both deeds have been notarized but not recorded. I thought they would have to be recorded after my moms passing. Now that my mother has passed, Will the property go into probate even thought I have a Lady Bird Deed?

    • gibbslawfl March 4, 2020, 5:07 pm

      Hello Yvonne, thanks for reading and commenting. Probate would be required unless the deeds are recorded which still may be possible. It sounds like you need local legal advice on that issue.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • wiliam gaylor March 11, 2020, 2:28 pm

    Steve,

    Can you think of any pitfalls for a non-resident alien using an enhanced life estate deed to transfer
    FL real estate to another non-resident alien? I am a Canadian citizen who wants to leave my FL vacation condo to my Canadian niece.

    • gibbslawfl March 12, 2020, 1:34 pm

      Hello and thanks for commenting. Under U.S. laws I can’t think of anything to prevent the transfer; however, as in most cases, a thorough review should be considered with a professional prior to doing anything to weed out any issues.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Joanne March 13, 2020, 5:36 pm

    My mom has a revocable trust and upon her death her house goes to me and my brother. We are thinking of having her live in an assisted living that meets her needs in NJ where I live. We don’t want to give up the house in Florida. In case she has to go on Medicaid will her house be an asset that they will make us sell to pay when she runs out of money?? We also have an Enhanced Life Estate Deed that we have not filed yet. If we file it and my mom is in a place in NJ and runs out of money and needs to go on Medicaid, will they make us use the house as an asset even though five years has not passed?? What should we do?? Thank you

    • gibbslawfl March 16, 2020, 6:13 pm

      Hi Joanne, thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, more information is needed concerning the assets as this kind of situation can be very touchy with wrong moves being very costly. You can schedule a consultation with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • CHERYL DIETRICH March 22, 2020, 11:35 pm

    Would it be better to file a Lady Bird Deed or quit claim deed in Florida. We have a will, but the attorney wanted too much money to add a trust. We want to leave both of our children our home in case of our death. I would have liked to do a Transfer on Death deed but was told that is not accepted in Florida. We want to avoid probate for our children.

    • gibbslawfl March 24, 2020, 11:53 am

      Hello Cheryl and thanks for commenting. Short answer: quit claim not good. I see folks mess up their estate plans and financial lives by taking this step. The lady bird deed is most likely ideal for probate avoidance and also protects you and your significant other. Let us know if we can help by connecting with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Jennifer Young March 26, 2020, 7:19 pm

    My main residence in is Pa and I have a vacation home in Florida that I own free and clear. I have a will in Pa leaving my assets to my two sons. I do not have a will in Florida. Will that have any impact changing to a Ladybird deed? Also, the deed in Florida is in my name only. I do not have homestead and I do realize the assessment might change upon my death. However, when I change to a ladybird deed could that have a impact on my property taxes currently?

    • gibbslawfl March 27, 2020, 1:55 pm

      Hello Jennifer, thanks for reading and commenting. Based upon what you’ve shared, for a non-homestead property the lady bird deed could offer the advantage of avoiding probate in FL. If you’re a PA resident, you wouldn’t need a FL will but should make sure your PA documents are kept up to date. Should be no impact on property taxes to do a lady bird deed. Let us know if we can help, can prepare and send anywhere in FL. Feel free to reach out to Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Joe April 25, 2020, 3:08 pm

    If I have a first morgage loan on my propery in Florida, Will having a Lady Bird Deed affect my loan? And does the remainderman have to pay back the remainder of balance of the mortgage loan after my death or just take over payment for the balance?

    Thanks

    • gibbslawfl April 25, 2020, 5:22 pm

      Hello Joe and thanks for commenting. Generally the mortgage follow the real property, so yes the remainderman would need to pay off or refinance the mortgage. Unless, he/she signed off on the mortgage they typically wouldn’t just take over payments.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Harold B Bourton May 1, 2020, 3:59 pm

    How does one acquire a ladybird deed.
    Is this something I can do myself or does an
    Attorney such as yourself have to file the paperwork?
    If so any idea what it costs.
    Harold

    • gibbslawfl May 4, 2020, 10:34 am

      Hello Harold, thanks for reading and commenting. We provide ladybird deeds on a flat fee basis which varies a little based upon complexity. I definitely do NOT recommend that you do this yourself because it is technical legal document and doing it wrong can create title problems AND/OR result in a need for probate. For a firm quote, connect with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Robert May 13, 2020, 12:29 pm

    Hi Steve,
    Great article. Very informative. Thank you!
    I am a widower with 2 adult sons. I recently moved from NY to Maine. I own (no mortgages) a home in Maine and a condo in Florida. I am getting somewhat conflicting suggestions on whether to put the properties in a revocable trust, or use a Lady Bird Deed in Florida and a recently enacted Transfer on Death deed for the Maine property. Generally speaking, do you prefer one over the other?
    Thank You

    • gibbslawfl May 13, 2020, 1:56 pm

      Hello Robert, thanks and it’s always nice to get great feedback! The answer to your question would vary based upon a number of questions that should be addressed in a confidential conversation. For example, if you’re married and a Florida resident, the advice would be different than if you’re a Maine resident or a widower. I don’t prefer any particular solution as a one size fits all because these are not black and white solutions. We are rolling out a platform of virtual services soon and could help you with personal FL legal advice that is all web based. Bookmark the website and you’ll see some changes in the future. If you’re interested in talking sooner, connect with Gene at admin@gibbslawfl.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, Esq.

  • Emily May 28, 2020, 10:05 pm

    I live on a fixed income (SS) and do not have that many assets. I have one daughter, no spouse. I finally have my home paid off – its not worth a lot (approx. $150,00) but I dont want my daughter to have to go thru probate. I was thinking about the LadyBird deed to do this. ( I live in Florida) Since all I need to do is leave her my home, do you think this is the best way to go? I would like to try to fill out the form myself, due to the cost of an attorney, since mine is pretty simple. What are your thoughts? Or is there another inexpensive way to leave her my home to avoid probate? Thanks in advance.

    • gibbslawfl June 1, 2020, 1:54 pm

      Hello Emily, thanks for reading and commenting. The best way to avoid FL with that property is exactly what you’re exploring and this the life enhanced deed option. We are putting together a virtual way to get one prepared starting from the web. Watch the website for details. I strenuously suggest that you avoid doing this yourself as it absolutely is NOT like “filling out a form” and doing it wrong will lead to more expensive title problems AND potential probate to boot. The fees range from $750 to have one prepared in office to $499 for the virtual option so not bad given the property being worth $150,000 and probate averaging a minimum of $2500 – $5000 for simple estates.

      Let us know if we can help.

      Steve Gibbs, Esq.

Leave a Comment