When you acquire assets, such as real estate, you'll also need to think about what will happen to them when you die, or who will control them if you are incapable of doing so. Establishing a revocable trust to control your valuable assets provides the directions for these situations. To create your trust properly, you need to transfer the title of your real estate to the trust and out of your own name.
To begin a trust, meet with an attorney for an initial consultation to determine the value of your estate, what your final wishes are and who you'd like the successor trustee to be. This person is responsible for distributing your assets or maintaining the trust after your death, and should be a third impartial party or someone you trust very deeply. However, the successor trustee can also be a beneficiary if you wish. The attorney prepares the legal trust document to establish the trust entity. Then, you can begin to transfer the titles of any real estate owned into the trust.
Real Estate Transfers
If you want to transfer the real estate you own into your revocable trust, you'll use a deed. The quitclaim deed generally suffices for this type of transaction. The deed lists the grantor as you and any other owners, and the grantee is the official name of your trust, such as "Miller Family Trust." To finalize the conveyance, you need to sign the deed in the presence of a notary public.
After the deed is signed and notarized, it should be recorded with the county clerk or register of deeds. This will ensure that the next time a title search is completed, the current owner will appear as your trust, rather than you as an individual. Although recording the deed is not required by law, it's highly recommended in order to avoid confusion in the future. The original deed should be returned to you, acting as the trustee, once it's recorded.
Because the trust is revocable, you can transfer the property back out of the trust or to someone else in the future. You would then sign the deed as the trustee of your revocable trust, not simply your first and last name (for example, "John Miller, trustee of the Miller Family Trust"). Some mortgage lenders might require you to take the property out of the trust when refinancing your loan. However, you can place it back into the trust after the loan closes. If your mortgage lender requires this, the deeds will be prepared with the closing documents and recorded in sequential order with the refinance documents.
If you need to transfer the property out of trust for a personal reason, standard deed forms can typically be purchased at an office supply store or prepared by your attorney. Once you sign it, it needs to be recorded. Recording times vary based on location but shouldn't take more than a few weeks.
- Federal Title and Escrow Company: Deed Transfers, Revocable Trust Explained
- Living Trust Network: Transferring Real Property to a Living Trust
- Estate Planning: Understanding Funding Your Living Trust
- Living Trust Network: Titling Property in a Living Trust
- Brent D.Coldiron: Revocable Living Trust
- Traktman Law Office: Duties of a Successor Trustee