Dallas, TX asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Texas

Q: I need an attorney that's familiar with Texas ladybird deeds. Any recommendations? Time is off the essence.

We are being sued in probate court for a property that was left to us through a ladybird deed. We desperately need an attorney that understands the difference between a ladybird deed and a transfer on death deed.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: A TODD and a "ladybird" deed are very similar with three important differences. 1) A TODD does not provide a warranty of title, whereas a labybird can; 2) a TODD can only be signed by the actual owner and not by an agent acting under a POA; and 3) only the owner can retain a life estate under a TODD, whereas a life estate can be created in the non-owner under a ladybird deed.

Obviously, the facts of each case govern which is preferable. The common grounds for challenging such a deed (fraud, incapacity, etc) are usually the same. The one that applies to a TODD that does not apply to a ladybird deed is that the deed was not signed by the actual owner.

Probate litigation usually involves family and can be some of the nastiest litigation. Nasty litigation equals expensive litigation.

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