The Lady Bird Deed: Transfer Real Property in Florida Without Probate

In Florida, a Lady Bird Deed (sometimes spelled ladybird deed) is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to transfer real property at death, without the need for probate administration. Avoiding the need for probate provides certainty and efficiency in dealing with affairs after death.

Probate is the legal process that occurs after one’s death to administer a last will and testament, or distribute assets if no will exists

In a typical life estate deed, the owner’s property is gifted to a beneficiary. Consequently, the property and its control is, for all intents and purposes, relinquished. The Lady Bird Deed is an enhanced life estate deed because it offers the automatic transfer of property at death while providing the life tenant the ability to retain control over the property.

Benefits Of Estate Planning In The Sunshine State

Florida is one of the just three states to allow this (along with Michigan and Texas.) The Lady Bird Deed thereby avoids the need to probate that property, while still allowing that individual to retain the right to sell, lease, and mortgage their property. This is all without the consent of the intended beneficiary. In most states, once the life estate deed is executed, the life tenant’s hands are tied. The life tenant now needs the consent of any beneficiaries named in the life estate deed in order to revoke the deed, or even allow the property to be sold. The beneficiaries interest becomes vested once the deed is executed. The opposite occurs in the State of Florida. With a Lady Bird Deed, the life tenant still retains the right to cancel the deed, sell the property, lease, and put mortgages on the property without the consent of the beneficiary.

The Lady Bird Deed Is An Effective Estate Planning Tool

The ability to transfer real property in Florida without probate makes the Lady Bird Deed attractive for estate planning. Even a will does not allow for this type of transfer at death. A will simply names the intended beneficiary. Moreover, if a person was to deed their property to their beneficiaries by way of a quit claim deed, prior to their death, then in effect that person no longer owns their property.

Speak With A Qualified Florida Attorney Before Executing A Deed

A Lady Bird Deed must be drafted in a very specific way, which typically requires an experienced lawyer. The transfer of real property is a serious matter. Thus, even with the costs to create and record a Lady Bird Deed, it remains an inexpensive and effective tool to transfer real property at death without the need for probate.

The attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group can assist you with all your Estate Planning needs. You can fill out the contact form here, or call (561) 232-2222. And with five offices across the State of Florida, speaking with an attorney is easy and convenient.


Updated December 12, 2018

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