You can put your home into your trust by preparing and filing a new deed from all current owners of the home to your trust, no matter what type of trust you have. A deed is a legal paper that is proof of property ownership. Although there is more than one type of deed, a warranty deed is commonly used for a transfer by an owner to a trust. A warranty deed allows you to transfer the home without creating problems later because you are guaranteeing the home's title, or history of ownership. A warranty deed acts as certification of your right to move the home to the trust.
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Get a warranty deed form for your state. Visit a local legal document or office supply store to get the document. The form already has all the wording your state requires for a legal deed.
Fill out the top line of the deed. You, as the current owner of the house, are a "grantor", as well as anyone else who owns the home with you, such as your spouse. Insert your legal name and current address. Insert the legal names and current address of any other owners after your information in the grantor section.
Fill out the second line of the deed, indicating the "grantee." The grantee refers to the trustee or trustees of the trust. Check the trust papers for the trust's name. Enter the trustees' names and addresses and then write "as Trustees of" -- and then insert the full name of the trust. Include the date the trust was created after the name of the trust.
Write in the consideration. The consideration is the amount of money paid for the transfer; you have to insert this figure if your state doesn't use a blanket number already shown on the deed form. You must pay transfer tax on this amount, so you'll want to use the lowest figure allowed in your state, such as $1.00, to avoid tax. Contact the property county clerk's or recorder's office to ask what the lowest permissible figure is.
Write the property's description in the middle part of the deed, which might be labeled "legal description" or "Schedule A." The description is the paragraph describing the property on your current deed. Copy the description from the current deed.
Take the deed form to a notary public allowed to notarize deeds in your state. All owners must bring valid state identification. Have all owners with you. Sign and date the deed in the grantor's section at the bottom. Have all other owners sign and date the deed. Ask the notary to notarize the signatures.
Bring the deed to the property's county recorder's office. Tell the clerk you want to file a deed; ask for the county transfer forms. Forms differ by county, but you typically need a transfer tax form -- even if the transfer isn't subject to tax -- and sometimes a state tax form. Complete all forms. File the deed and the forms. Ask for a certified copy of the deed. Pay any fees associated.
Add the home to the trust agreement's property list. Attach the certified deed copy to the trust agreement.
- Trust agreement
- Current property deed
Tips & Warnings
Contact the county recorder's office to find a qualified notary public.
You might need the home's property tax identification number on the deed, depending on your state. Contact the county real estate tax department to get this number.
While you can use a quitclaim deed to transfer title, this type of deed doesn't guarantee you had interest in the home and may cause issues with future home transactions.
References & Resources
- Living Trust Network: Transferring Real Property to a Living Trust
- Paul Premack, Elder Law Attorney: Living Trust and Quitclaim Deed
- Winnebago County, Illinois: Warranty Deed Example
- Marion County Board of Community Commissioners: Instructions for Using the Warranty Deed Form
- Nelson Homes: What Happens in a Deed?
- David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images