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Real property

Lady Bird deed

A Lady Bird deed is a deed that allows a real property owner to transfer ownership of the property to another person or entity while continuing to use and control the property.

In some states a Lady Bird deed may be used as an estate planning tool, allowing the owner to make a lifetime gift of the property; avoid federal gift taxes (because it is an incomplete gift and is not final); avoid probate; qualify for Medicaid benefits; and continue to live in their private home after transferring ownership (title) of it to another person or entity.

A Lady Bird deed may also be referred to as an enhanced life estate deed, as it effectively gives the owner a life estate interest in the property while transferring ownership (title) to another person or entity.

Laws vary from state to state, but a Lady Bird deed may also allow the owner to continue to have complete control of the property, without input from the grantee under the Lady Bird deed. This may include the owner’s right to change their mind and sell or transfer the property to another person or entity, or to make changes to the property.

In Texas, a Lady Bird deed, also known as an enhanced life estate deed, is a legal instrument that allows property owners to retain control over their property until death, while designating a beneficiary to automatically receive the property upon the owner's death, without the need for probate. This type of deed allows the original owner to use, occupy, and even sell the property during their lifetime without the consent of the beneficiary. The owner can also change the beneficiary at any time. Lady Bird deeds are recognized in Texas and can be a useful estate planning tool to avoid probate, potentially qualify for Medicaid benefits, and minimize tax implications. However, it's important to consult with an attorney to ensure that this estate planning strategy aligns with the individual's overall estate plan and to address any potential risks or complications.

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