Deeds are the usual method of transferring real estate. In recent years, a “Ladybird” deed has become the preferred method of transferring title from one generation to another or to a trust. A ladybird deed essentially names your children or someone as the beneficiary of your real estate to take title at death. Earlier forms of Quit Claim deeds often named children as co-owners. That led to problems such as the children refusing to sign if you wanted to sell or causing liens to be put on your property if they filed for bankruptcy or had creditor liens. Deeds also play a key role in the income taxation of real estate. Deeds transferring real estate during your lifetime do not get a “step-up” in cost basis at death. This results in income taxation on the eventual sale of the property.

The ladybird deed provides a “step-up” in the cost basis and will reduce or eliminate income tax on the eventual sale of the property. Whenever there has been a transfer of real estate, it will usually be necessary to file property transfer Affidavits with the local treasurer.