Estate planning is usually an overwhelming process, but it’s a good idea to know it so that your needs can be fulfilled. It’s smart for you to learn about the available options and the strategic ways you may set yourself and your loved ones up for financial success in the long run. A lady bird deed on the property can be what you need. You need to be prepared so that you have the right deed in place that gives the best protection.
If you desire to avoid probate for your assets, such as your house or any other real estate, then a lady bird deed is your best option. This is a deed that provides a simple and inexpensive way for you to transfer the real property when you pass away without probate. Besides, a lady bird deed can be a great solution if you want to protect your house from Medicaid estate recovery. In this article, you will learn about a lady bird deed.
Understanding a lady bird deed
As explained earlier, a lady bird deed refers to a kind of estate deed that you can use to transfer property to your beneficiary while retaining control of it. In most cases, a lady bird deed is usually utilized when you want to apply for Medicaid.
Ideally, it means that you can only transfer ownership of your real estate to a beneficiary, but you can do it while you are still alive. A lady bird deed specifically allows you to transfer ownership, but you can retain rights if you live in the house. This tactic can help you to reduce your total assets and protect your right to live in your home.
There are two purposes for a lady bird deed. Firstly, it’s there to simplify the transferring process of property to your beneficiaries after you die. It also allows your property to avoid the probate process, which can be expensive, complicated, and usually a taxing process. Remember that the probate process can happen after the owner of the property dies. This works well because ownership of the property was already established, making the transfer to be automatic.
Another reason why you should create a lady bird deed is if you want to lower your asset values so that you can qualify for Medicaid. Sometimes, it can be hard to transfer property within 5 years after applying for Medicaid help. But some states allow you to use a lady bird deed to overcome this rule.
How a lady bird deed works
The lady bird deed requires you to establish a beneficiary. Remember that this is an individual who can get your property. This deed also outlines the rights of the grantor or owner, and they can include the freedom to sell or mortgage your house.
When the grantor dies, the lady bird deed can formally transfer ownership to the beneficiary, meaning there is no need to have probate. Also, property taxes are often re-evaluated at this time.
A lady bird deed is suitable for an individual who desires to plan their estate so that they can improve their chances of qualifying for Medicaid. In most cases, a house can be valuable enough for you to be ineligible for Medicaid coverage. If you want to use a lady bird deed, you must not have a minor child or spouse because these people have rights that may supersede the requirements of a lady bird deed.
The tax implications associated with the lady bird estate planning have two main ways. Firstly, this type of transfer avoids gift taxes. This is because the real property is not formally transferred when the original owner is still alive. Therefore, it’s not considered to be a gift.
Secondly, there is an implication that the property can be reassessed for taxes. In most cases, a property is not assessed for taxes unless you transfer them. A lady bird deed can trigger a transfer following a new tax assessment and may increase property taxes significantly.
It’s crucial to understand the difference between a transfer on death deed and a lady bird deed. A transfer on death deed is usually a simpler way to estate planning. This type of deed allows the property to go straight to the beneficiary when the owner passes away. In such cases, there is no need to have a complicated probate process. Before the property owner dies, the beneficiary doesn’t have any rights when it comes to the property, meaning it’s fully owned by the initial owner until they pass away.
By now you may be wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to create a lady bird deed. Sometimes, a lady bird deed can be good in very specific situations, though they don’t offer a general solution to all of your estate planning. But if your state recognizes a lady bird deed, it can assist you to qualify for Medicaid. Also, it can improve your overall strategy during your estate planning process.
There are some cases that may require different estate planning strategies. This is especially true when you have a minor child or a spouse. Likewise, if Medicaid is not your major concern, a lady bird deed may not be necessary. You should note that Medicaid benefits are designed for individuals who may not afford to pay for their medical care.
Therefore, when you apply for benefits, you need to have very little assets and income. Keep in mind that there are some assets that don’t count for you to be eligible for Medicaid. Sometimes, your primary home may not be counted once Medicaid decides to add up the value of your assets. This means that it can completely be exempted or partially exempted.
A lady bird deed can be a great option if you intend to transfer property to your inheritors while protecting your qualification for Medicare and your estate. This is the reason why it’s crucial to know how a lady bird works so that you can make the right decision when it comes to whether or not one can meet your needs.