Updated Primer on Lady Bird Deeds
Estate Planning Developments for Texas Professionals, April 2012
4 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 1, 2012
This article updates and revises Lady Bird Deeds: A Primer for the Texas Practitioner, Est. Plan. Develop. Tex. Prof. (January 2011).
Many people think that the “Lady Bird” deed became known as such because President Johnson once used this type of deed to transfer property to his wife, “Lady Bird” Johnson. In reality, the first Lady Bird deed was drafted by Florida attorney Jerome Ira Solkoff around 1982, nearly ten years after the death of President Johnson. In his elder law book and lecture materials, Solkoff used a fictitious cast of characters with the names Linton, Lady Bird, Lucie, and Lynda in examples explaining the usefulness of this new type of deed, and the names became associated with the deed. Jerome’s son, Scott Solkoff, jokes that the Lady Bird deed “could easily have become known as the 'Genghis Khan deed.'”
Lady Bird deeds, more formally known as enhanced life estate deeds, allow the grantor to transfer property to beneficiaries while retaining a life estate in the property coupled with the power to sell, convey, or mortgage the property without the beneficiaries’ consent.
This article aims to educate estate planning professionals on the basics of Lady Bird deeds in Texas by discussing the different reasons one would want to use a Lady Bird deed (with emphasis on the use in the Medicaid context) and the alternatives to doing so. In addition, this article addresses some of the uncertainty surrounding, and concerns involved with, using Lady Bird deeds as part of an estate plan.
Keywords: Lady Bird Deed, Enhanced Life Estate Deed, Medicare, Estate Planning, deeds, Texas
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation