The Benefits of Enhanced Life Estate Deeds (Probate Avoidance)

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    The Benefits of Enhanced Life Estate Deeds (Probate Avoidance)

    • St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney has over six decades of experience helping people secure their legacy. We have a proven track record of success for our clients. Our law firm has been around for a long time because we get great results and don’t take advantage of people. 
    • Our lawyers have achieved a 10.0 AVVO rating, the highest possible score, this signifies our attorneys’ substantial experience and successful track record. This rating considers various factors, including years of practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements, and peer endorsements. Attorneys with a history of winning complex, high-stakes cases are more likely to achieve this rating, which serves as a benchmark of excellence and reliability in the legal profession.
    • Many of our  lawyers have been selected to be on the Florida Super Lawyers 2024 list. Super Lawyers is an exclusive list that honors less than 5 percent of attorneys in the entire state of Florida. Super Lawyers is a research-driven and peer-conducted rating system that is part of Thomson Reuters. Only the most outstanding lawyers with substantial professional achievement are chosen by their peers to represent Super Lawyers. With their patented multiphase selection process, this honor reinforces our lawyers’ high standings both with the clients we work with and the legal community as a whole.
    • Our firm has been recognized as ‘Best Law Firm’ and ‘Best Estate Law’ by the Tampa Bay Times’ Best of the Best People’s Choice Award. Our firm has been the recipient of the Tampa Bay Times’ Best of the Best People’s Choice Award consecutively over the last five years. This award is a community voting based contest that chooses the best businesses, companies and services in Tampa Bay. Every year, the Tampa community members cast over 135,000 votes to choose the top businesses in the area. We are honored to have our efforts in Estate Planning law be recognized by the people of Tampa Bay.

    St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney stands out due to our commitment to client success and our extensive expertise in estate planning law. Our attorneys have consistently secured favorable outcomes for clients, earning reputations for diligence, compassion, and legal acumen. Simply put, they are the toughest around, but also fair.  Our firm is dedicated to providing personalized service, ensuring that each client receives the attention and support they deserve throughout their legal journey. You can count on our Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to have your back.

    I recently met with a client who had a valid will in place. She was convinced that despite not utilizing the benefits of a revocable trust, her estate would not require probate at her death because of the way she titled her various assets, including the use of “payable on death” (POD), “transfer on death” (TOD), and beneficiary designations.

    The one asset she overlooked, however, was her homestead real property, which was only in her name and would need to be probated at her death, even though her homestead would be passing to protected heirs (her children).
    This is a recurring misconception that I see on a regular basis. Most clients I meet with have never heard of an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, which is also frequently referred to as a Lady Bird Deed, and are not aware of the benefits of using one.

    When I describe a Lady Bird Deed to a client, I frequently refer to it as a “POD Deed” or “TOD Deed”, because it works very similarly to an account titled as payable on death or transfer on death. Even though the deed is signed and recorded at the present time, the property interest that is conveyed is not a present interest; rather, it is a future interest. The Grantor reserves an enhanced life estate in herself, and at her death, if she still owns the property, it passes to the individual(s) named as the remainder beneficiaries in the deed, bypassing probate.

    Because the life estate is “enhanced”, the Grantor may sell, assign, transfer, mortgage, or otherwise convey any or all of her interest in the property while the Grantor is alive. If, however, the property is still owned by the Grantor at her death, it is transferred to the remainder beneficiaries named in the deed without a need for probate.

    The use of a Lady Bird Deed or Enhanced Life Estate Deed is a great estate planning technique that may be beneficial for anyone who owns real property.
    We are always happy to educate clients on the use of such a deed as part of their entire estate planning portfolio.

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