Estate Planning in Michigan Using a Ladybird Deed

Michigan Ladybird Deed
(Warranty Deed with Enhanced Life Estate and Power of Appointment)

When correctly executed and recorded, this deed provides the structure for a non-testamentary transfer of real property. Leaving the real property out of a will allows the transfer to occur without the need for probate.

The grantor conveys the real estate back to herself, but reserves a life estate with full power to sell, mortgage, change the beneficiary, or otherwise use the property with no penalty for waste or obligation to inform the beneficiary. When the grantor dies, the property rights, if still available, transfer to the default beneficiary.

To finalize the conveyance, the beneficiary must file a property transfer affidavit within 45 days of the grantor’s death. Submit the form to the assessor’s office located in the same county as the real estate.

Before using this or any other estate planning instrument, carefully review the potential implications for taxes and eligibility for programs such as Medicaid.

Completing the Transfer of Ownership for a Michigan Ladybird Deed

When the grantor on a Ladybird deed in Michigan dies, the remaining real property interest, if any, transfers to the named beneficiary without the need for probate. Beneficiaries simply complete two steps to finalize the process.

Present a certified copy of the deceased grantor’s death certificate (must contain a raised seal) to the Register of Deeds located in the same county as the land being conveyed. Include a cover sheet that identifies the grantor, the beneficiary, and the instrument number or book and page information from the original Ladybird deed.

All property transfers in Michigan must be reviewed by the assessor for the city or township where the real estate is situated. This requires submitting a Property Transfer affidavit, found on the Michigan Department of Treasury’s website, as well as those of most county recorders and assessors, within 45 days after the transfer. Timely completion of this step is essential — delays may result in fines or tax penalties.

View the Michigan Ladybird Deed Form