A transfer on death deed is a useful tool for avoiding probate, saving your loved ones time, money, and stress after you pass away. However, these deeds are not available in Florida because the state has not adopted the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act (URPTODA). What Floridians can use instead is the life estate deed, which offers many similar benefits as a transfer on death deed.
Transfer on Death Deed vs. Life Estate Deed
A transfer on death deed, which is currently an option in the 19 states that have enacted the URPTODA, allows an individual to designate property to be transferred automatically upon their death. This is also true of a life estate deed and is the defining characteristic of both types of deeds.
One very common type of life estate deed in Florida is a Lady Bird deed, also known as an enhanced life estate deed. This type of deed is used when a property owner wants to retain ownership rights and control of the property while they are alive but have the ownership pass to someone else once they pass away. Property owners in Florida can use a Lady Bird deed to avoid probate and transfer the property title directly to their chosen beneficiary.
A Lady Bird deed is only available in five states (including Florida), and URPTODA transfer on death deeds are an option in 19 states. There are also differences involving powers of attorney and who can sign the deed.
Benefits of a Lady Bird Deed
In general, Lady Bird deeds are a simple alternative for property owners in Florida. By implementing this type of deed into your estate planning, you can avoid probate, which is a notoriously time-consuming and difficult process. This deed’s ability to allow property to avoid probate is often the most significant benefit, but it is not the only one. Lady Bird deeds are also relatively inexpensive to draft and record, as opposed to other options for transferring property upon death. They are also revocable, which means the property owner can change the terms whenever they choose.
For all of the benefits they offer, Lady Bird deeds are not the best option for everyone. Knowing the potential disadvantages allows you to make informed decisions about your estate planning choices. There is limited asset protection available with a Lady Bird deed if the property is not your homestead (i.e., primary residence). These deeds also do not take into account what happens if the chosen beneficiary dies before the property is passed to them.
How Farshchian Law Can Help
Many people in Florida feel that the benefits of a Lady Bird deed outweigh the disadvantages. If you would like personalized guidance on the best way for your estate to avoid probate and whether the Lady Bird deed is a good option for you, call us at (800) 604-1871 or email us at Info@JFRealEstateLaw.com. We cover the entire State of Florida for title transfers and other real estate and probate services.