A West Virginia lady bird deed (or “enhanced life estate deed”) allows a real estate owner to name a beneficiary who will receive ownership of their property upon their death. This type of instrument conveys the transferor’s interest immediately after their passing without additional legal proceedings or probate. Recording a lady bird deed doesn’t affect a transferor’s property rights, and they may revoke the deed at any time.
A lady bird deed functions similarly to a “transfer on death deed,” with the difference being that, while allowed in West Virginia, they are not recognized in the state’s statutes. Instead, lady bird deeds are governed by common law and may be prepared to include provisions that may otherwise be restricted under a transfer on death deed.
- Statutes: Chapter 36 (Estates and Property)
- Formatting: § 36-3-5, § 36-12-9, § 39-1-2a, § 39-1-11. Additional formatting may be required in certain counties (e.g., Jefferson County).
- Signing Requirements (§ 39-1-2): Notary Public or Two (2) Witnesses
- Where to Record (§§ 40-1-9, 39-1-2): County Clerk’s Office
- Recording Fees (§ 59-1-10(a)(1) & (7)): $30 for the first five (5) pages; $1 for each additional page.