Ladybird Deed

A ladybird deed (also known as an enhanced life estate deed) is a legal document used in certain U.S. states to transfer ownership of real estate to heirs while allowing the original owner to retain full use and control of the property during their lifetime. The deed also allows the original owner to avoid probate, which can be expensive and time-consuming. The name comes from the fact that the deed is often drawn up with a “ladybird” clause, which allows the original owner to remain on the property for life or until they choose to leave.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using a Ladybird Deed

A Ladybird Deed is a special type of deed that is used in some states to transfer real estate to heirs without having to go through the probate process. This type of deed can be an attractive option for those who want to avoid the time, expense, and hassle of probate court proceedings. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using this type of deed.


  1. Simplicity: Ladybird deeds are relatively easy to complete and require minimal paperwork. This makes them an attractive option for those who do not have the time or resources to go through the probate process.
  2. Flexibility: Ladybird deeds allow for flexibility in terms of how the property is distributed. For example, the owner can specify who will receive the property upon their death, or even specify different beneficiaries for different pieces of property.
  3. Avoiding Probate: The main advantage of using a Ladybird deed is that it allows the owner to avoid the time and expense of going through the probate process. This can save both time and money, as well as potentially avoiding family disputes over the distribution of the property.


  1. Limited Use: Ladybird deeds are only available in certain states, and not all states recognize them. Therefore, they may not be an option in some areas.
  2. Unforeseen Circumstances: Ladybird deeds are irrevocable, meaning that once they are signed, the terms cannot be changed. This means that if unforeseen circumstances arise, such as the death of a beneficiary, the owner may not be able to make changes to the deed.
  3. Potential Tax Liability: In some cases, using a Ladybird deed may result in additional tax liability for the beneficiaries of the property. This is because, in some cases, the property may be considered part of the owner’s estate for tax purposes.

Overall, a Ladybird deed can be an attractive option for those who want to avoid the time and expense of probate court proceedings. However, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of deed before making a decision.

Step-by-Step Instruction: How to Fill a Ladybird Deed

  1. Gather necessary information: You will need the ladybird deed form, the current owner’s name and address, the name and address of the person taking ownership of the property, and the legal description of the property.
  2. Prepare the ladybird deed form: Fill out the ladybird deed form with the information gathered in step 1. Make sure all of the information is accurate and spelled correctly.
  3. Have the deed notarized: The deed must be notarized in order to be legally binding. Find a local notary and have them witness the signing of the deed.
  4. File the deed with the county: Once the deed has been notarized, it must be filed with the county in which the property is located. You may need to pay a fee to file the deed.
  5. Record the deed: The deed must be recorded in order for it to take effect. This is generally done by the county recorder’s office.
  6. Provide a copy of the deed to all parties: Once the deed has been recorded, provide a copy of the deed to all parties involved in the transaction. This includes the current owner, the new owner, and any other parties that need to be notified.