Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The Florida Enhanced Life Estate
12:05 pm edt
is one of only a few states that recognize an "Enhanced Life Estate Deed" which is commonly known in other states
as a "Lady Bird Deed." With the ability to have a life estate deed to pass property automatically upon death to
a named recipient, Florida residents can bypass the need for probate of the family home to pass it to their heirs. Thus, if
a person has a relatively small estate not otherwise needing probate (except for the required filing of the Last and Testament),
then the use of an Enhanced Life Estate Deed can simplify their estate planning needs and allow them to focus more on the
naming of agents for their other documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate or HIPAA information
One of the primary reasons for using the Enhanced Life Estate Deed is to avoid probate; however, the benefit for
the current owner is that they retain the full right to sell, use or otherwise deal with their property without the need of
obtaining the consent of the future recipient, known as the "remainderman." Since the remainderman will receive
the property only if the current owner still owns it at death, their possible interest in it is considered contingent, and
they will have no control over what the current owner does with the property. This ability of the current owner to do as they
please with the property without involvement of the remainderman is what makes this deed preferable to many individuals over
the customary life estate deed which gives the remainderman a current right in the property.
Another feature of the Enhanced Life
Estate Deed is that it is not determinative of the warranty of title to the property. Therefore, it can be used regardless
of whether the property is being transferred by quitclaim deed, special warranty deed or warranty deed. This tool is
becoming more popular with un-remarried widows and widowers in Florida to allow for the passage of their home without probate
should they still own it at death.
If you would like to know more about this type of deed for use in estate planning, please
contact us and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.