Lady Bird Deeds and Transfer on Death Deeds

19 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2018

See all articles by Gerry W. Beyer

Gerry W. Beyer

Texas Tech University School of Law

Date Written: December 3, 2018


A carefully prepared estate plan often contains personal property which passes outside of the probate process such as beneficiary designations on bank accounts, life insurance, and retirement accounts. With regard to real property (often the family home), inter vivos trusts serve as the traditional non-probate transfer mechanism. Although this technique has many advantages, it adds complexity and cost to the estate planning process, especially for individuals with limited resources. Alternatively, estate planners may decide to use a life estate deed where the client retains a life estate and transfers the remainder interest to the desired recipient. A life estate deed, however, can not be changed after execution, creating problems if the client later wishes to undo the action or change the remainder beneficiary. Modern law now provides two alternatives to inter vivos trusts and life estate deeds: Lady Bird Deeds and Transfer on Death Deeds.

Keywords: lady bird deeds, transfer on death deeds, estate planning, deeds, enhanced life estate deed, Medicaid

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Beyer, Gerry W., Lady Bird Deeds and Transfer on Death Deeds (December 3, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Gerry W. Beyer (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University School of Law ( email )

3311 18th Street
Lubbock, TX 79409-0004
United States
806-834-4270 (Phone)
978-285-7941 (Fax)


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