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I am interested if anyone knows about the Lady Bird Deed? I don't need it right now but it was a concern when we were making out my husbands will. We were discussing with our lawyer should he need Medicaid assistance in going into a nursing home facility that we could protect our assets with this so called Lady Bird Deed. It is not actually a law on the books, per se, but it is a way of preventing you from having to spend down or lose some of your assets. You can see that I am clearly not as informed about this subject as I would like to be and would like to know if there was anyone out there who could explain this nebulous concept to me a little bit better. From what I understand, it has something to do with being able to gift your house to your spouse or someone else and still qualify for Medicaid and not to have to go through divorce or hiding your assets or spending down to nothingness. Can anyone help?

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"Lady Bird deeds" are only in just a few states. I think it's 6, which include TX & Mi. For TX it is not a life estate but an enhanced benefit deed which they continue to own the property. Property is not gifted, given or transferred....nothing can happen till they die. It stays in their name till then. The majority of states do not allow Lady at all. So I'd suggest finding out if yours does as a first step. If allowed they will be in your states laws....it will be specific to your states administrative code. It is not a "nebulous concept".

Why they work to avoid estate recovery is because They pass ownership of the property to go outside of probate for the transfer to be done after the property owner dies. Why this is important is that in theory, Medicaid's estate recovery (MERP, MERS) is done via an action in probate. So in theory.... no probate = no recovery. Now one issue with this is that many states are taking a wider view of probatable assets for asset recovery and some legal which was outside of probate -like life estates - is no longer.

Lady, imho as a non-legal, is especially great if they die AND have had the funds to support the property as well as all their other expenses from now till they die for however long that is (6 mos...16 years) and then pay for funeral. The issue for those that go onto Medicaid is that medicaid REQUIRES them to do a copay or a SOC (share of cost) of all their monthly income to the NH. So their SS, pension, etc MUST be paid to the NH as the required SOC. They are only allowed a modest Personal needs allowance of $ 35 - $ 105 a mo. The pna is really barely enough for barber / beauty shop vists and some toiletries. Often their PNA is the amount of their cable or phone. They will have no - none -nada of any $$$ anymore to ever pay on anything house once on medicaid. Taxes, insurance, utilities,yard work, repairs....etc, will have to be paid by someone else and for the rest of their elders lifetime and then for however long it takes to pay the estate or probate atty clear through the Lady bird deed transfer.

Say the house runs 15k a year to maintain & they live 5 years in a NH on Medicaid.....that's 75k someone has paid on the house before they can get the house fully transferred to whomever is the new owner via Lady. Hopefully the person who has been paying all house costs is the one getting the house via Lady & they have the purse or wallet to front all house costs for however long.

I can see doing lady on a parents home if the costs are affordable, you have a long view on investments and dont mind risk too too much. And a really good sense of humor.
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Good comments. Can anybody flesh this out a little bit more? Give me some concrete examples. I know a lawyer has to draft the document, what I am really looking for are real world examples of people have taken the opportunity to use this.
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A "Lady Bird deed" (also known as an enhanced life estate deed) is a way to transfer property to someone else outside of probate while retaining a life estate in the property.
Rules vary from state to state, so check your state laws on Life Estates. In NY the state can attempt to recover Medicaid costs from Life Estates.
Some states require the Life Estate be irrevocable, meaning the grantor can NOT change their mind. It is best to sit down with an attorney who is up to date on your state's laws.
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You need an eldercare lawyer to address this. It's basically transferring a property while retaining the right to live in it, as i understand. Not a dyi project .
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