The Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors recently published an excellent article explaining the use of “Lady Bird” deeds.

A Lady Bird deed allows an owner “the best of both worlds”. He can maintain control of all legal rights regarding his home until his death. Upon death, the home transfers to the beneficiary without the need to go through probate court.

The problem with simply adding a loved one to a deed as a joint owner is that then the added co-owner cannot be removed without his consent. Also, the house can be vulnerable if the added co-owner goes through a divorce, a bankruptcy proceeding, or has judgments outstanding against him.

Maintain Control with a Lady Bird Deed

The Lady Bird deed lets the original homeowner change his mind and remove the beneficiary he has added onto the deed. The homeowner maintains complete control to subsequently sell the house or borrow against it without the consent of the beneficiary.

The name "Lady Bird Deed" comes from Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon Johnson’s wife.

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