This brief article describes how to transfer title of your home to a simple revocable trust. It is a general overview and you should seek competent legal counsel before completing such as transfer.
But first, a quick review: Your trust must own something in order to be valid. This is called “funding” your trust. Your home is one of the main assets that should be owned by your trust in order to avoid the probate process upon your death.
For example, if the deed to your home states that you, individually, are the owner, then you loved ones (beneficiaries) will have no legal authority to transfer title to themselves when you pass away. They cannot sign you name to a new deed, even if you had previously given them a financial power of attorney (in California, for example, a power of attorney is automatically terminated upon death). They must then go to court, open up a probate case, and ask the judge to transfer title. This is a very long and costly task.
To avoid this problem, title to your home will be transferred to your trust during your lifetime. Remember, every trust will have a “trustee” whose job is to manage the assets owned by the trust. If it is your trust, then you probably have named yourself as the trustee.
Title to all property that is owned by a trust is actually owned by the trustee of the trust.
For example, before John Doe created his new trust, his deed stated that title to his home was owned by “John Doe” (individually). Now that John Doe has created his new trust, he will execute a new deed that transfers title from “John Doe”, to “John Doe as the trustee of the John Doe Revocable Trust”. It’s really that simple.
Of course, the new deed must then be recorded in the Recorder’s Office of the county where the house is located.
Remember: John Doe’s trust will also have named a “successor trustee”, who will step into that position when John becomes incapacitated or passes away. At that time, the successor trustee will then have full legal authority to do whatever the trust terms instruct him or her to do, including transferring title of the home to John’s beneficiaries.
You should check with a local attorney to determine the particular type of deed that should be used to transfer title to the trustee. Hopefully, your revocable trust was created by a qualified lawyer who completes all of these tasks and sees to it that the deed is properly recorded.
Transferring title of your home into your trust is a relatively simple but important step. Again, seek the advice of a qualified attorney to assist.