Wills and Estate Planning

Wills and Estate Planning Areas of Practice Include:

  • Probate Administration
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Lady Bird Deeds
  • Power of Attorney

The Lady Bird Deed and Avoiding Probate

What is a Lady Bird Deed?  

Legend has it that these deeds were first established to protect Lady Bird Johnson's real estate upon her famous husband's demise. These deeds are becoming a more popular estate planning technique in Michigan which provides for transferring property to heirs. While you cannot name a beneficiary to your home, these deeds are as close as you can get.  They are also known as Enhanced Life Estate Deeds.

How Does it Work?

Michigan law states the deeds allow you to transfer your existing real estate, by deed, to your beneficiaries (legally known in real estate law as "remaindermen") who will automatically take the house upon your death thereby avoiding Probate.  It is a cost effective way to transfer your real estate without the necessity of a Trust.  Lady Bird Deeds prevent violating the "look-back" period for Medicaid eligibility and nursing home care.  However, you are not locked in as you reserve the right to sell, lease, mortgage or change your mind.

Benefits of a Lady Bird Deed In Michigan

  • Avoid Probate.  Probate will be avoided as your home will automatically be transferred to the named beneficiaries listed in your deed.
  • Avoid Taxes Upon Selling.  Beneficiaries can sell your home upon the death of the grantor and avoid taxes on the proceeds.
  • Avoid Gift Taxes.  The transfer is not complete until the death of the grantor, so it is not a lifetime gift and is not subject to gift taxes.
  • Not a Medicaid Divestment.  These deeds allow you to keep your home as an exempt asset when you apply for Medicaid assistance.
  • Avoid Property Reassessment.  Your property taxes will not be reassessed with this transfer.  In fact, it is not even a reportable transfer to the city assessor.
  • Avoid Michigan Estate Recovery.  These deeds transfer outside of probate so a claim cannot be filed against the house for Medicaid Repayment.

HAVE QUESTIONS?  The dedicated lawyer, Lewis Seward, at Seward, Tally & Piggott, P.C. in Bay City, Michigan is here to help!  Call today!  989-892-6551

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The preceding is provided for informational purposes only.  While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it cannot be relied upon as legal advise.  Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations.  Please consult with the attorneys at Seward, Tally & Piggott, P.C. for legal aid.

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Seward, Tally & Piggott, P.C.

1009 Washington Ave.

Bay City, MI 48708

Phone: 989-892-6551

Fax: 989-892-1568

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and by special appointment

We are located across the street from the Post Office and Court House.