Friday, May 03, 2019

Ladybird Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

I'm a listed attorney for a prepaid legal service. As part of the deal, I get referrals from the service, and the customer gets 25% off my legal fees for being a member of the service. Not a bad deal, and it does bring in quite a range of referrals from absolutely insane people, to those with an incredibly strong and unearned sense of self-entitlement, to time wasters, to decent clients, to really good clients.

So, I had a referral six months ago for a potential client who wanted some ladybird deeds done.

Ladybirds are a special kind of deed that, to put it simply, if done right, lets you bypass probate with the property, name who is going to get the property when you die, and still give you complete control over the property including the right to sell it up until you die.

Basically, the deeds are good to avoid probate and can be used in some circumstances for Medicaid planning. See your attorney for details to see if it works for you or not - it is really not the right solution for everyone.

So I chat with this client and she wants 6 Ladybird deeds. Kinda unusual, typically one for the person's residence is the request as that typically works for Medicaid, and if you own more properties you may want a trust and/or LLC structure to handle that.

She insists she wants ladybird deeds and doesn't want a trust or anything else. She insistently wants ladybirds and nothing else will do. It is the first case of complete Ladybird fixation I've ever come across. Fine, I outline the advantages and disadvantages and then quote her the discounted price on doing and recording all 6.

She then hangs up and doesn't call back and I figure she was either kicking tires, or just didn't want to pay for the service.

The provider service calls me three months ago asking if I had dealt with her. I noted I had had a conversation with her 3 months before then, but she didn't retain me or pursue the matter. They then refer her to me again as she apparently wants to do it.

So she calls again, I quote her the price again, and she faxes me over the current deeds to look over. I quote her the price yet again, she doesn't retain me and actually asks for a further discount as, according to her, since I would be doing 6 deeds she should be entitled to a bulk discount. I calmly explain that she's already getting a 25% discount off the cost and if she can find it done as well for cheaper she's welcome to go do so. Then she hangs up and nothing happens for a couple more months.

She then calls last week, deciding she wants to do 4 deeds and wants to meet with me after hours, because she works. Fine, I stay later one night last week and she comes in, she asks lots of questions about the process, again asks for a bulk discount on 4 which I again explain isn't going to happen as she's already getting the 25% discount. She hems and haws, I expect her to leave after wasting my time yet again, but finally she writes a check for the 4 deeds - At this point I know to demand the full fee upfront for the deeds as I can tell exactly what will happen if I don't do so.

So, I get the deeds done, and actually correct an error in the legal description on one of the deeds that has crept into it, and they're ready to go.

She called me yesterday in the late afternoon wanting to come in immediately to get them done, after hours of course, because she be working.

Well, the first after hours day I can fit her in is next Tuesday, as I'm booked solid yesterday, and Friday and Saturday and not available due to other things going on, and even if I was, not sure I'd be inclined to make a special trip to the office and set aside Saturday time for this person after all this nonsense and attitude.

I note she can see me during normal hours on Monday or normal hours or later on Tuesday.

She states she's very concerned, because what if something happens and she dies over the weekend?

I tell her that the deeds aren't effective until they're signed and notarized. I then state to her in a rather deadpan manner that she should avoid unnecessary risks before coming in.

She's very insistent though and all wound up about doing them before Monday, because after her delaying doing anything for over 6 months, she wants them done quickly just in case, and I should drop everything to make that happen and arrange to meet her at her convenience.

I calmly point out she's waited over 6 months to do anything and odds are that she should statistically should survive until Monday to sign the deeds.

After a fair bit of carrying on, she then agrees to meet Monday during the day, we will see when she actually shows up.

She then actually asks that if she dies before she signs them, will her heir get a refund of the legal services?

Yes, seriously.

I explain that no, the heir would not get a refund as the work is done and awaiting her signature. She gets all wound up about that.

I tell her to be careful, drive safe, and I'll see her Monday.


Chuck Pergiel said...

Makes me glad I'm not a lawyer.

Aaron said...

Chuck: The practice of law certainly has both its upsides and downsides.

Old NFO said...