When you make your estate plans, you can be confronted with a bewildering array of options designed to help you pass your assets to the right people — while also minimizing tax obligations and probate.
Texas is one of the few states that allows the use of a Lady Bird Deed (or an enhanced life estate deed) to pass property directly from a testator to their heir without going through probate. Learning more about this option could prove valuable as you consider your goals.
What makes a Lady Bird Deed different?
Essentially, a Lady Bird Deed allows you to transfer your interest in a property to your beneficiaries automatically upon your death, bypassing probate entirely.
Once the Lady Bird Deed is executed, you still remain the property’s owner — and you retain the exclusive right to use the property as you see fit during your lifetime. That means you can live in the home or on the land, rent it out for extra income, take a mortgage on it to finance another goal or even sell it. Your beneficiaries have no voice in the issue (except what you are willing to give them).
Plus, since the property remains in your name until your death, it cannot be subject to liens or collection efforts by your heir’s creditors.
This is all quite different from other methods of transferring an interest in a piece of real estate to a potential heir, which may require you to give up exclusive ownership of the property, restrict what you can do with it or leave you exposed to your beneficiary’s debts.
Estate planning can be exceptionally complicated in the modern era. If it has been a while since you’ve looked at your estate plans (or you’ve never even started), it’s always good to explore new options for passing your wealth safely to the next generation.