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What is the difference between a Ladybird deed and a revocable living trust?

Hallandale, FL |
Filed under: Successor trustee

I am trying to choose one over the other. My only other assets besides real property is a car and bank accounts that I suppose must be probated unless it is in a RLT?

Attorney Answers 2


This cannot be answered with the information you have given, you need to look at other issues like age, health, amount of mortgage to answer this question. You should contact a Florida Elder Law attorney who does estate planning also.

David Goldman
Apple Law Firm PLLC
331 East Monroe Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Tel (904) 685-1200 Fax (904) 212-0678

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A ladybird deed or enhanced life estate is the equivalent of having a bank account in your name with a POD (Pay on Death) provision on the account designating another person to receive the account on your death. It works by operation of law. You die, the property automatically transfers to the beneficiary. All the beneficiary has to do is produce a death certificate and identification.

Revocable Living Trusts achieve the same results but are more complicated. First you have a lawyer create the trust. This can cost almost as much as it would to probate a small estate. Then you transfer the property by deed into the trust. You are the trustee and the beneficiary. You name a successor trustee to take over after you are dead. You also name successor beneficiaries to take the property after you are dead. You instruct the sucessor trustee to turn the property in the trust over to the successor beneficiaries upon death. Since the property is in owned by the trust no probate is needed. But your successor trustee will probably need a lawyer to register the trust and to handle the transfers. I never advise elderly people with modest estates to use this device. It's too complicated. However, people with complex or large estates or who have special needs beneficiaries to provide for after death, that's another matter.

I would hesitate to advise a Ladybird if you are young. Not that you cannot undo it if you decide to sell your home. But If all you have is your homestead and your car and you are in at least your 60's, then the Ladybird might be for you.

For those reading this who are not from Florida, please be aware that Ladybird Deeds are only recognized in 8 states at the present time (Florida being one of them) and they have to be in the proper form.

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1 comment



thank you Sir for your answer. I made my decision based on your info.

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