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Enhanced Life Estate Deeds Enable You To Give Your House To Your Children And Keep It For Yourself, Too


Some people write their estate plans such that one beneficiary (usually the testator’s spouse) has the right to stay in the testator’s house for the rest of that beneficiary’s life, but after that beneficiary dies, another heir (usually the testator’s children from a previous marriage or the testator’s siblings) inherits the house.  Five states, including Florida, allow a variation on this practice, whereby you get to stay in your house for as long as you live, but after you die, the designated beneficiary can inherit the house immediately, without going through probate.  An enhanced life estate deed, also known as a lady bird deed, enables you to designate a transfer on death beneficiary for your house.  This might sound like it is too good to be true, and while lady bird deeds are ideal for some people, they do not amount to a freebie for all parties involved.  To find out more about enhanced life estate deeds and other ways to help your family save money while inheriting property from you, contact an Orlando estate planning lawyer.

Are Lady Bird Deeds a Solution for Indecision?

A lady bird deed might be the right choice for you if you want a family member other than your spouse to inherit your house from you.  It is easy for a surviving spouse to inherit a house without going through probate; the way to accomplish this is simply for the couple to own the house jointly, so that when one spouse dies, the other automatically keeps it.  Most of the time, people who issue lady bird deeds for their houses are single or widowed.

Imagine that you want your nephew to inherit your house when you die.  If you simply leave instructions in your will for your nephew to inherit your house, he cannot get it until your estate settles, and this will cost a lot of money, both for your estate and for your nephew.  If you sign a quitclaim deed and gift the house to your nephew while you are alive, you will be powerless to stop him from placing the house as collateral for a loan he can’t repay; in the worst-case scenario, you could both end up with no place to live.  With a lady bird deed, you can ensure that you have a place to live for the rest of your life.  You also have the right to sell the house if you decide that it would be better for your heirs to inherit money instead of a house.  Many estate planning lawyers in Florida will draft an enhanced life estate deed for a flat fee of several hundred dollars.  In other words, an enhanced life estate deed is much less expensive than a revocable trust.

Contact Gierach and Gierach About Enhanced Life Estate Deeds

An estate planning lawyer can help you find the least expensive way to transfer real estate property and other valuable assets to your family members.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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