Enhanced Life Estate Deed
The Florida Enhanced Life Estate Deed (sometimes called "The Lady-Bird Deed") is a tool designed to preserve the homestead for the benefit of the family at the last to die of the husband and wife, or upon the death of a single person. Under current law, the homestead will be considered exempt during the lifetime if there is a well-spouse or disabled dependent still at home, or if the applicant demonstrates an "intent-to-return" to the homestead. Therefore, in most cases, the homestead will not affect Medicaid Eligibility.
However, the growing concern is what happens at death. If there is a surviving spouse or disabled dependent residing at the home, then the house passes free and clear to them. In addition, if there is an "heir" who takes under the Will, then, currently, the homestead passes free and clear. However, in most, if not all, Florida Counties, an often arduous probate process must be undertaken to pass title to these people.
Currently, The Enhanced Life Estate Deed provides a mechanism to bypass the probate process and thus the creditors. Under this document, the husband and/or wife retains a Life Estate Interest under which he or she retains the right to live on the property for their life, as well as other attendant powers. The remainder interest is for the children and vests in them immediately upon the death of the life tenant. It is important to note that the Life Tenant can alter this deed at anytime and sell the property if and when they please.
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