By: Katelyn A. Sweeney
In today’s world there are many ways to add a beneficiary to our various assets. At most financial institutions you can add a beneficiary on your accounts by filling out a simple form. Property, however, is often mistakenly left without a beneficiary because people do not realize they have the ability to leave such designation on this valuable asset. A “Ladybird Deed” does just that.
The concept of a Ladybird Deed is to continue an owners’ interest in their property for the remainder of their lifetime, but to ensure upon the death of the last Grantor the property is transferred to a designated beneficiary, rather than probated. Once a Ladybird Deed is executed, it is recorded and upon the death of the surviving Grantor the property becomes an asset of the listed beneficiary by simply recording the Grantors’ death certificates with the Register of Deeds.
The creation of a Ladybird Deed does not take control away from the owner, as they can still sell, mortgage, or gift the property once this deed has been executed. The designation set within the Ladybird Deed is only carried out if the Grantor passes and still has an interest in the property described within the deed. And the designation within the deed does not have to list an individual; it can also list a person’s Revocable Living Trust as the beneficiary. The concept behind the creation of the Ladybird Deed is simply that an owner of property can avoid probate with this beneficiary designation.
So, if you own property and want your loved ones to avoid the probate process upon your death, a Ladybird Deed may be right for you. Sharon A. Burgess, Danelle E. Harrington, and Katelyn A. Sweeney 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 this field of practice and are not intended to replace individual legal advice. If you have questions, please contact Sharon, Danelle, or Katelyn at one of the firm’s two convenient office locations in Frankenmuth and Saginaw.