Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lady Bird Deed

An enhanced life estate deed is a deed in which the holder of the life estate also retains the right to transfer the property, by sale or gift, without obtaining the consent of the owner of the remainder interest.  If the life estate holder transfers the property, the remainder interest is destroyed unlike with a traditional life estate where the life estate owner cannot transfer more than his or her life interest without the consent of the holder of the remainder interest.  Enhanced life estate deeds are sometimes called Lady Bird deeds because President Johnson allegedly used this type of deed to convey property to his wife.

Travis Robbins on the Online Lawyer Blog has recently made an interesting post on this subject entitled Estate Planning and the Enhanced Life Estate Deed which discusses the possible benefits of this technique in detail.


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At least two states, Missouri and Kansas, have a statute allowing for what are termed "beneficiary deeds" to accomplish the apparent same result as a Lady Bird deed. See RSMo 461.025 and KSA 59-3501 et seq. Out of curiosity, does anyone have an idea of how many other states have such a statute?

Posted by: Michael Hussey | Jun 22, 2006 6:08:16 AM

Seven states have special provisions dealing with transfer on death deeds, also called beneficiary deeds (Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio). This technique operates similar to a pay-on-death bank account, that is, the beneficiary named on the deed has no interest until the owner dies. Like the depositor, the owner of the land may change the beneficiary designation at any time and for any (or no) reason.

Posted by: Gerry W. Beyer | Jul 14, 2006 8:44:30 AM

Can a benificiary (say a son) in a lady bird deed live on the property and claim homestead as long as it is ok with the owner? Then, would the property be free of his judgements and liens since
the property is still in the owner's name.

Posted by: fran | Jun 28, 2007 6:49:45 PM

Is New York state one of the states that have enhanced life estate deeds.

Posted by: Barbara | Feb 19, 2008 5:59:10 AM

This is concerning a problem with my Mother's estate. She died in Dec 2007. She signed over the deed to her home in 1999 to my sister and brother in law. She continued to live in the home. She went into a nursing home in April 2006 and remained there until her death. Sister and brother in law sold my Mother's house in November of 2007 a month before she died. They pocketed the money from the sale of the house. What kind of a law in New York State allows people to do this since I am an heir and I've been totally disregarded. I have a copy of my Mom's will and it says she would leave house and bank accounts to my sister and myself, equally. My Mother's attorney probated no will for my Mother and sent me a money order for $608.00 saying the estate has been liquidated with no other explantion. I've contacted the attorney and he never wrote back to me. What should I do?

Posted by: mary johnson | Jun 10, 2008 1:19:20 PM

What information needs to be included in an Enhanced Life Estate Deed?

Posted by: Rachel | Jul 16, 2008 12:32:03 PM

Where online can I can a template for a ladybir deed? Is it legal in NC?

Posted by: Gwen | Dec 8, 2008 10:01:53 AM

Is a Lady Bird Deed/Enhanced Life Deed legit in North Carolina?

Posted by: Martha | Jan 4, 2009 3:23:54 PM

My mother passed away in a nursing home last year in Florida. She was on Medicaid. She had a Lady Bird Deed leaving the property to me. She also owed a substantial amount on a credit card soley in her name and has a mortgage on the house still in her name. She was homesteaded. There were no other assets as she was on Medicaid. No probate was required as that was all she owned. My question is can the creditor come after the house.

Posted by: Gritter | Jan 7, 2009 10:10:52 AM

My mother passed away last year at our home in Michigan. She owned a house in Florida that was deeded to my brother. He is selling the house and after the mortgage is paid off the money will be split between 3 siblings. My question is will he have to pay capital gains tax?

Posted by: Martina Eagle | Jan 9, 2009 10:38:55 AM

I think you are definately right about that. But your idea only applies part of the time.

Posted by: Lease to Buy Homes | May 15, 2009 7:30:58 AM

Does anyone know the legalities of purchasing a life estate deeded property by tax sale? I want to purchase the property from the tax sale purchaser but have been told title insurance is not available because the tenant or life remainders can claim the property back in Missouri by paying the tax arrears? Could this be right?

Posted by: Laura Lee Shaw | Apr 16, 2010 10:17:03 AM

My Father lives in Texas and is in nursing home that is being paid by medicade. His mental state has detoriated. His wife (not my mother) has power of attorney. Is there a way that we can protect his home and the property that he owns from being seized by medicade once he passes away. He has been in the nursing home for 1 year. The home is set up under a Life Estate Deed now. Will this and is this enough to protect the property?

Posted by: Isaiah Wilson | Oct 13, 2010 9:48:09 AM

On a Lady Bird estate will, can i continue to claim property tax as a senior citizen?

Posted by: Nancy Carrell | Nov 30, 2010 6:53:05 AM

I am a care giver and the person that I am taking care is living her house to me in her will.To avoid probate she wants to execute an enhanced life estate deed also knoun as lady bird deed.My question is can she do both and if the lawyer needs to know abaut she executing the deed.

Posted by: MARO ULLOA | Nov 17, 2011 1:40:03 AM

Why did the lawyer who made out my Father's will, with a "Lady's Bird Deed" for the property being given to his children upon his death and he had very little money be given to the probate court to be filed? This is in Michigan. The lawyer who done this said it would never go to probate and then that was the first thing he did.
We go no original will....why????

Posted by: D. | Jan 7, 2012 4:52:00 AM

Is a ladybird deed valid in Tennessee? If not, is there an equivalent legal instrument or do you have to do a trust of some kind (e.g. living).

Posted by: Bo Jones | Jul 10, 2012 2:33:12 PM

Is a ladybird deed valid in Tennessee? If not, is there an equivalent legal instrument or do you have to do a trust of some kind (e.g. living).

Posted by: Bo Jones | Jul 10, 2012 2:33:24 PM

Is the Lady Bird deed valid in RI?

Posted by: Paulette | Dec 6, 2012 5:29:05 PM

A Lady Bird deed is valid in Rhode Island.

Posted by: Zdouthit | Mar 20, 2013 1:06:01 PM

If 3 people are listed on a ladybird deed in Florida, can one named person live in the house for free

Posted by: Sherry | Oct 10, 2013 10:13:43 AM

My mother is sick and getting chemo. My brother heard about this Lady Bird Deed. We are all in NC. Does it protect her home from being taken if her medical expenses run higher than she can afford? How does this work? Should she do this now? Her life expectancy is still not been determined, but we want to be sure she is protected before her expenses start to pile up.

Posted by: Trish | Oct 20, 2014 12:23:26 PM

Is there a lady bird deed available in Tennessee or something similar?

Posted by: Maxine craig | Sep 3, 2016 3:53:27 PM

Is a ladybird deed or enhanced life estate deed legal in Tennessee for the purpose of long-term care/Medicaid planning?

Posted by: Maria C Kelly | Sep 18, 2021 8:08:13 AM

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