A Lady Bird deed is a type of deed that gives the owner of a property the ability to transfer it to beneficiaries without going through the probate process. This can also be referred to as an enhanced life estate deed, as the two processes are similar.
A Lady Bird deed works by allowing the owner of a property to transfer a remainder interest in a home to the individuals that are ultimately going to become beneficiaries of the owner's estate. However, the property owner retains a right to use the property or occupy the property during his lifetime. The property owner can also sell the property, take out a mortgage or change the beneficiaries at any time before his death. Upon the owner's passing, the beneficiaries automatically receive what is remaining of the property. No probate is necessary. The process can also make the property exempt from any Medicaid claims and liens that could be placed on the property at the time of the owner's death.
The nickname Lady Bird Deed originated after many believed that President Lyndon B. Johnson used this process to give land and property to his wife, who was nicknamed Lady Bird. However, there is no evidence that this actually occurred.