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Week 42 ~ Prepare to Avoid Probate

This should be an important part of your preps. If you own land, have you thought about protecting your property from Probate? This week we are discussing Transfer of Death Deed (TOD), Lady Bird Deed and Life Estate Deed  . Please review the website for more information.

Transfer of Death Deed & Lady Bird Deed 

This is a topic of interest we thought you should know. Remember we are not experts in this field so please do your own research.


If you own a piece of property, a transfer-on-death deed (also called a TOD deed) is a deed that serves as a substitute for a will. Like a will, a transfer-on-death deed allows property owners to designate one or more people or organizations to inherit property upon the death of property owner(s). But unlike a will, a transfer by transfer-on-death deed is a non-probate transfer. No probate proceeding is needed to transfer the property to the new owners after the original owner dies. A TOD deed form requires special language to ensure that the deed qualifies as a transfer-on-death deed.

States that Recognize Transfer-on-Death Deeds

Transfer-on-death deeds are the newest type of deed for avoiding probate. Missouri was the first state to recognize transfer-on-death deeds in 1989. Since then, transfer-on-death deeds have gained popularity, spurred mostly by the enactment of the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act (URPTODA) in 2009. URPTODA was promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission as a model act for states to use in creating their laws. The enactment of a model act like URPTODA can prompt states to act more quickly when considering legislation.  Since URPTODA was introduced, 16 states have enacted it. Other states have created their own laws that are similar to URPTODA. More than half of U.S. jurisdictions now recognize some form of transfer-on-death deed. These jurisdictions include:

Alaska*                              Hawaii*                              Missouri                               Oklahoma

Washington*                    Arizona                              Illinois*                                  Montana

Oregon*                           West Virginia*                   Arkansas                               Indiana

Nebraska*                        South Dakota*                  Wisconsin                             California

Kansas                              Nevada*                            Texas*                                   Wyoming

Colorado                          Maine*                              New Mexico*                        Utah*

D.C.*                                 Minnesota                        North Dakota*                      Virginia*

* States that have adopted the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act

As of 2019, Connecticut, Montana, and Iowa, are all considering the adoption of URPTODA. Regardless of whether these states enact URPTODA, there is a definite trend toward recognition of transfer-on-death deeds.

What is a Lady Bird Deed and Life Estate Deed?

Lady Bird Deed is a special form of Life Estate Deed that gives the owner continued control over the property until his or her death. Once the owner dies, the property is transferred automatically to new owners without the need for probate. A Lady Bird Deed requires special language to ensure that the deed qualifies as a Lady Bird Deed. 


How does the Lady Bird Deed work?

Like regular Life Estate Deeds, Lady Bird Deeds work by dividing ownership of real estate into different time periods. A person who creates a Lady Bird Deed transfers property to himself for his lifetime. This creates a Life Estate in the original owner, who is called a Life Tenant.

A Lady Bird Deed also names one or more people, trusts, or organizations to inherit the property after the original owner dies. This group of inheritors is called Remaindermen or Remainder Beneficiaries.

Lady Bird Deeds are only available in five states:

Florida           Texas           Michigan          Vermont          West Virginia

Please go to website for more information on the Lady Bird Deed.


Life Estate Deed.   A Life Estate Deed is a special deed form that allows a property owner to use the property during life and transfer the property automatically at death. Life Estate Deeds are designed to transfer the property at death without losing the ability to use the property during life. 

How does the Life Estate Deed work?

Life Estate Deeds work by dividing the property into two types of interests. One interest is measured based on the owner’s lifetime and is called a Life Estate. The interest that passes at the owner’s death is called a Remainder or Remainder interest. The Life Estate and Remainder interest are then transferred to different owners. There are three categories of owners:

  • Current Owner (Grantor) – The person creating the deed is called the Grantor.

  • New Owner (Life Tenant) – The person who owns the Life Estate is called the Life Tenant.

  • Future Owner (Remainder Beneficiary) – The person who will acquire the property when the Life Tenant dies is called the Remainder Beneficiary or Remainderman.

Please go to website for more information on the Life Estate Deed.

Transfer of Death Deeds (TOD) vs. Lady Bird Deeds

A transfer-on-death deed serves the same purposes as a Lady Bird Deed (also known as an enhanced Life Estate Deed). Both provide continued control during life and pass the property at death. Lady Bird Deeds are only recognized in five states: FloridaTexasMichigan, Vermont, and West Virginia.


Although the two deeds serve the same purposes, they are based on different sources of law and are not identical. If a state only offers TOD deeds, then a TOD deed is often the best choice for avoiding probate. But there are two states—Texas and West Virginia—that offer both TOD deeds and Lady Bird Deeds. In those states, it can be a close call between a Lady Bird Deed and a TOD deed. In Texas, for example, Lady Bird Deeds are often a better choice than a TOD deed for the reasons listed in the discussion of Texas TOD deeds vs. lady bird deeds.

Please go to website for more information on this topic.


Here is your challenge.

These are suggested items for you to purchase. Review the inventory in your pantry and add any items you need to your shopping list.

Food Storage Purchase 

Water ~ 1 gallon per day per person

Condensed Milk

Powdered Milk

Powdered Peanut Butter

Powdered Butter

Extra Purchase


Apple Pectin

Mason Jars and Lids

Family Prep

Review your family evacuation plan and update it.

Skills & Drills

Do research on this topic.


Save $42 as your budget allows. Save something. Here is a 52 Week Money Challenge Printable Spreadsheet

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Disclaimer:  We at deCamp Outdoors are not scientists nor doctors. We are Preppers and Survivalists who share information based on research and studies as well as experience in the field of emergency preparedness. We strive to be 100% accurate, but if you see something that doesn’t look right, please send an email to deCamp Outdoors.  We participate in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn funds by linking to and affiliated sites, at no cost to you. Videos, information and illustrations found on this website are for purposes based on the individual experiences of the presenter and or website/page dialog. Every situation is different and your results may differ. You should analyze the risks and research the information accordingly before proceeding to take action.

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