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A "Lady Bird Deed," also known as an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, is a unique property deed used in some states, including Florida. This legal instrument allows the property owner (grantor) to retain control over their property during their lifetime, including the right to sell or use the property, and then automatically transfer it to a designated beneficiary (grantee) upon their death, bypassing the probate process.

Key features of a Lady Bird Deed include:

  1. Life Estate and Remainder Interest: The grantor retains a life estate in the property, meaning they have the right to use and control the property during their lifetime. Upon the grantor's death, the property passes to the remainderman (beneficiary) named in the deed.

  2. Avoidance of Probate: One of the primary advantages of a Lady Bird Deed is that it allows the property to pass directly to the beneficiary without going through probate, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.

  3. Retained Control by Grantor: Unlike a traditional life estate deed, the grantor of a Lady Bird Deed retains the right to sell, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the property without the consent of the remainderman. This provides a greater degree of flexibility for the property owner.

  4. Protection from Creditors: In some cases, the property transferred via a Lady Bird Deed may be protected from the claims of the grantor's creditors.

  5. Medicaid Planning: Lady Bird Deeds are sometimes used in Medicaid planning. Property transferred through such deeds may not be subject to Medicaid estate recovery in some states, though this can vary and should be verified with current regulations.

  6. Simple and Revocable: The deed is relatively simple to create and can be revoked or changed by the grantor at any time during their life.

  7. Tax Benefits: In many cases, property transferred via a Lady Bird Deed may still qualify for homestead exemptions and may avoid certain tax implications associated with gift or transfer taxes.

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