A life estate deed is a type of deed in which you “sell” a life estate in your own property to yourself, for life, with a remainder interest in the property to another person (usually a child).
This means that you have a right to live on the property until death, but at the moment of death, the property passes automatically to the person owning the remainder interest–without any court involvement such as probate.
Depending on your estate planning needs, life estate deeds can be general or “enhanced,” which simply means that you retain the right to sell the property during your lifetime and the property only passes to the remainder beneficiary if you still own it at the time of death. Enhanced life estate deeds are sometimes called “Lady Bird Deeds.”
Life estate deeds are commonly used to avoid having to go through the cost and time of probate, as well as in Medicaid qualification.