What is a Lady Bird Deed? All You Need to Know

Estate planning is a crucial aspect of ensuring that your assets are handled according to your wishes after your passing. One of the tools available for estate planning is the Lady Bird deed. This legal instrument can offer several advantages, especially for property owners in Florida. The concept of a Florida Lady Bird deed may seem complex at first, but its functionality and benefits make it a valuable addition to many estate plans. 

By allowing property owners to retain control of their property during their lifetime and seamlessly transfer it upon death, it addresses common concerns about asset management and inheritance. As with any legal tool, understanding the specifics of how a Lady Bird deed works is essential for making informed decisions about your estate.

In this blog, we will explore what a Lady Bird deed is, its uses, requirements, benefits, and how you can create one in Florida.

What Is a Lady Bird Deed in Florida?

A Lady Bird deed, also known as an enhanced life estate deed, is a type of legal document that allows property owners to retain control over their property while alive and transfer it automatically upon their death. This deed is named after Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, although she had no direct connection to the legal concept.

In Florida, a Lady Bird deed allows the property owner to:

  • Gain full control over the property during their lifetime.
  • Sell, lease, or mortgage the property without needing the beneficiaries’ consent.
  • Automatically transfer the property to the named beneficiaries upon their death without going through probate.

Examples of Lady Bird Deeds in Use

Lady Bird deeds are particularly useful in various scenarios:

  • Elderly Homeowners: An elderly homeowner can use a Lady Bird deed to ensure their home passes directly to their children or other beneficiaries upon their death, avoiding the need for probate.
  • Medicaid Planning: For those receiving Medicaid benefits, a Lady Bird deed can help protect the home from estate recovery, allowing the property to transfer to heirs without being subject to Medicaid claims.
  • Second Marriages: In cases of second marriages, a Lady Bird deed can ensure that the property goes to the children from the first marriage while still allowing the current spouse to live in the home for their lifetime.

Requirements of a Lady Bird Deed

To create a valid Lady Bird deed in Florida, certain requirements must be met:

  • Proper Identification: The deed must clearly identify the current owner (grantor) and the beneficiaries (remaindermen).
  • Legal Description: The property must be described in detail, typically including the address and legal description from the property’s deed.
  • Rights Retained: The deed must state that the grantor retains the right to sell, mortgage, lease, or otherwise manage the property during their lifetime.
  • Recording: The deed must be signed by the grantor, notarized, and recorded with the county clerk’s office where the property is located.

Benefits of Florida Lady Bird Deeds

There are several benefits to using a Lady Bird deed in Florida:

  • Avoids Probate: Property transfers automatically to the beneficiaries upon the grantor’s death, bypassing the probate process.
  • Retains Control: The grantor maintains full control over the property during their lifetime, including the right to sell or mortgage it.
  • Medicaid Protection: The property can be protected from Medicaid estate recovery, allowing it to pass to heirs without being claimed by Medicaid.
  • Simplifies Estate Planning: Lady Bird deeds can simplify the estate planning process and provide peace of mind for property owners.

How to Generate a Lady Bird Deed in Florida

Here are the steps to create a Lady Bird deed in Florida:

  1. Consult an Attorney: It is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning to ensure the deed is properly drafted and meets all legal requirements.
  2. Prepare the Deed: The attorney will draft the deed, ensuring it includes all necessary elements, such as the identification of the grantor and beneficiaries, property description, and retained rights.
  3. Sign and Notarize: The grantor must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public.
  4. Record the Deed: The notarized deed must be recorded with the county clerk’s office where the property is located. This step is crucial to ensure the deed is legally recognized.


A Lady Bird deed is a valuable tool for Florida homeowners looking to retain control over their property during their lifetime while ensuring a smooth transfer to their beneficiaries upon death. By understanding the requirements and benefits of a Lady Bird deed, you can make informed decisions about your estate planning. Consulting with an estate planning attorney from Vollrath Law can help you create a Lady Bird deed tailored to your specific needs, providing peace of mind and financial security for your loved ones.

If you’re considering a Lady Bird deed or other estate planning options, contact an estate planning attorney today to ensure your assets are protected and your wishes are honored.

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