How to Set Up a Family Trust for Your Home in North Carolina

By Jeff Franco J.D./M.A./M.B.A.

Setting up a family trust for your North Carolina home can be a powerful estate planning tool if you want to control how your surviving spouse and family members use the home in the future. The great thing about a family trust is that you can establish any condition or contingency to which your family will be subject before they are able to use the home or receive an ownership interest in it.

Setting up a family trust for your North Carolina home can be a powerful estate planning tool if you want to control how your surviving spouse and family members use the home in the future. The great thing about a family trust is that you can establish any condition or contingency to which your family will be subject before they are able to use the home or receive an ownership interest in it.

Step 1

Choose the beneficiaries of the family trust. You need to determine the specific family members who will have an in interest in the home once the trust takes effect. There’s no restriction on the number of family members you can designate as beneficiaries, nor is there any requirement that you include all of your children.

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Step 2

Appoint a trustee. The person who you designate as trustee of the family trust is responsible for overseeing and managing your home and for insuring that all terms of the trust are adhered to. Therefore, you should always choose a trustee who is trustworthy and responsible.

Step 3

Create a legal trust document. In North Carolina, one option is to incorporate all terms of the trust, such as the names of its beneficiaries, their respective interests in the home and a devise of the home to the trustee, in your will so that the trust takes effect immediately upon your death. Alternatively, you can create the trust prior to your death by drafting a separate document that includes all terms of your family trust.

Step 4

Fund the trust with your home. To fund the family trust with the home prior to your death, you must prepare a new deed naming the trust as the legal owner. But if you create the trust through your will by devising the home to the trustee, it isn’t necessary to prepare a new deed.

Step 5

Record the new deed. You must record the deed at the Register of Deeds office in the North Carolina county where your home is located.

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Can a Living Trust Protect a Home From a Lawsuit?

References

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A revocable trust is an agreement that dictates how your assets will be distributed, both during your lifetime and after your death. The trust is called “revocable” because you retain the right to revoke the trust, or amend it, during your lifetime. A revocable trust may appeal to you if you want to avoid the expense and public nature of probate proceedings. However, revocable trusts can be costly to establish and administer, mainly because you — or your trustee — must be sure that assets are properly transferred to the trust.

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Transferring property to a living trust is an important step in setting up the trust. Investment accounts, such as those offered by Vanguard, allow an investor to list a beneficiary who will receive the proceeds of the account upon the account holder’s death. Problems arise, however, if the beneficiary dies before the account holder. It is for this reason that transferring these types of accounts to your trust is prudent financial planning.

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