Hayes & Wilson PLLC, Attorneys at Law


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Transfer-on-Death DeedsLadybird Deeds

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As an individual ages, new needs arise. An Elder Law Attorney can help anticipate and navigate these issues.

Transfer-on-Death Deeds

In September of 2015, Texas added a chapter on Transfer-on-Death Deeds to the Texas Estates Code. Aptly named, these deeds allow a person to transfer real estate to a beneficiary upon his or her death. They are also sometimes just referred to as “Beneficiary Deeds.”

Transfer-on-Death Deeds allow an individual to retain control of his or her property during his or her lifetime. He or she can use the property, rent it, or even sell it. But, if at the individual’s death, he or she still owns the property, then the property will transfer according to the terms of the deed.

Five Things To Know About Transfer-on-Death Deeds:

  1. The property doesn’t change hands until the owner actually pass away. This means the owner can change his or her mind and revoke the deed, sell the real estate, or make other arrangements at any time.
  2. If a person passes away and there isn’t enough money in his or her estate to pay his or her creditors, estate taxes and other costs, the real estate transferred by the Transfer-on-Death Deed may be used to pay the debts.
  3. The Estates Code specifically exempts the property from Medicaid Estate Recovery Programs (MERP), and because the property is not transferred until the owner passes away, the property, if a homestead, may not be a countable asset for the purposes of qualifying for Medicaid.
  4. The Transfer-on-Death Deed is a non-testamentary instrument, meaning that the transfer occurs outside of probate and the terms of your Will.
  5. The Transfer-on-Death Deed may not be signed by an agent under a Power of Attorney, and it is only valid if filed in the county where the property is located before the grantor dies.

Ladybird Deeds

A Ladybird Deed, or an Enhanced Life-Estate Deed, is similar to a Transfer-on-Death Deed, but there are a few important differences. Unlike the Transfer-on-Death Deed, the Ladybird Deed is not specifically authorized by Texas statutes. A Ladybird Deed does not have the same restrictions that the Transfer-on-Death Deed does, but it also does not offer the same protections.

To determine if either of these deeds would be right for you and your estate plan, contact us to set up a consultation. Our Attorneys will discuss these two deeds options and help you determine which (if any) would fit your estate plan.

Call or email to schedule a consultation.

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