Lady Bird Deeds

What is a Lady Bird Deed?

by Sharon A. Burgess

Many of us have heard mention of a “Ladybird Deed” and are not sure what exactly this is.  The concept of a Ladybird Deed is that ownership of the property is not transferred until the death of the last of the grantors.  With a life estate deed, ownership is transferred at the time the deed is executed, and the grantor reserves the right to occupy the real estate until death.  Many times the grantors are Mom and Dad, and they no longer have control over their homestead, the ability to mortgage it, or to protect it from their children’s creditors.

With a Ladybird Deed, these problems are avoided.  The Grantors (usually Mom and Dad) retain the ability to sell, mortgage, gift, lease or dispose of the property without the involvement of the “remaindermen” (which is usually the children).  The property is not subject to probate on the death of the last Grantor, and the transfer to the remaindermen is completed with the recording of the death certificate.  A Ladybird Deed is also being used to convey property to t the Grantor’s Revocable Living Trust on their death, again allowing the property to remain titled in their individual names with the transfer to the Trust being completed at the death of the last grantor.

While this form of deed is being used by many in the community, it is important to discuss this with and elder law and estate planning lawyer familiar with the document.  Sharon A. Burgess, and Danelle E. Harrington practice in the areas of probate/estate planning, long term care planning and elder law, and business and real estate transactions at SMITH BOVILL, P.C.  Their articles are intended to introduce various issues arising within these fields of practice and are not intended to replace individual legal advice.  If you have questions, please contact Sharon or Danelle at one of the firm’s two convenient office locations in Frankenmuth and Saginaw.