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Risks of DIY Lady Bird Deeds: Consequences for Owners & Heirs?

Incorrectly preparing a Lady Bird Deed can lead to serious consequences for the person who executes the deed and the intended beneficiaries. Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Invalid Deed: The most immediate concern is that the deed may be invalid. This could be due to various reasons such as incorrect legal descriptions, wrong use of language, or missing signatures. An invalid deed means the property does not transfer as intended, which could lead to unforeseen disputes and legal battles.

  • Unexpected Tax Liabilities: If the deed is not properly structured, it could inadvertently create unnecessary tax liabilities. For instance, without the proper execution of a Lady Bird deed, the property might not get the step-up in basis at death, which could create significant capital gains tax liability for the beneficiary.

  • Disputes Among Heirs: An improperly prepared Lady Bird Deed can lead to disputes among heirs and beneficiaries, potentially leading to litigation. This can cause emotional distress for the family and significant expenses, not to mention delay the distribution of the estate.

  • Ineligibility for Medicaid: One of the advantages of a Lady Bird Deed is that it allows the original owner to remain eligible for Medicaid. However, if the deed is not correctly prepared, it could lead to disqualification from such benefits.

  • Complications in Future Sales: If there are errors or ambiguities in the deed, it can complicate the process if the property owner or beneficiary decides to sell. This could mean additional legal costs and delays.

  • Potential Cloud on Title: Mistakes in the deed can cause a cloud or defect on the title, making it harder to transfer the property in the future through sale or further estate planning.

An incorrectly prepared Lady Bird Deed can create a domino effect of complications, financial implications, and legal disputes, causing stress and potentially delaying the intended property transfer.

Published: Aug 2, 2023

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

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This FAQ is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make no representations or warranties about this FAQ's completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability. Each legal situation is unique; consult an attorney for personalized guidance.

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