How to Put My House in a Trust

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

How to Put My House in a Trust

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

If you create a trust as part of your estate plan, it's important to "fund" the trust so it functions the way you intend. Funding the trust means transferring assets into it. You can transfer your home and other real estate into your trust by preparing and recording a deed with the County Recorder or Registrar of Titles in your county.

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Step 1. Determine what type of deed you want to use.

There are various types of property deeds you could use to transfer your home into your trust. Two common deeds are warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. When you sign a warranty deed, you are guaranteeing that you have the legal right to transfer title into the trust. A quitclaim deed transfers ownership without any warranties about marketable title. A third option in many states is a transfer on death deed or a beneficiary deed. Unlike a warranty deed or quitclaim deed, this type of deed does not transfer ownership immediately but at your death.

You may wish to consult an estate planning or real estate attorney to discuss these options in more detail before selecting a deed.

Step 2. Prepare and sign the deed.

You can get a property deed by working with an attorney, from an office supply store, or through a reputable online legal services provider.

If you work with an attorney, the attorney should fill in the deed for you. If you complete the deed yourself, you will need some information from your existing certificate of title or deed. The "grantor(s)" field is where you fill in the current owner(s), as listed in the county records. The "grantee" is your trust. Fill in the name of the trustee followed by "as trustee of" and the name and date of your trust. For example, if Jane Doe created a revocable trust dated January 1, 2018, and is serving as the initial trustee, she could transfer her home into trust by listing the grantee as "Jane Doe, as trustee of the Jane Doe trust under agreement dated January 1, 2018."

You will also need to provide the legal description for your property, which is the way the county plat or land survey identifies it. This is different from your address. Refer to your current deed or title to find the legal description or contact the County Recorder or Registrar of Titles.

All property owners must sign the deed in front of a notary public. In addition, if you are married but hold property in your name alone, your spouse may need to sign off on the deed transferring title.

Note that some states' laws include additional requirements for property deeds, such as identifying the marital status of the grantor(s) and including a statement such as "Total consideration for this transfer is less than $500." When in doubt, check with your County Recorder or Registrar of Titles to ensure your deed meets all applicable requirements.

Step 3. Record the deed with the county.

If you work with an attorney, the attorney will likely record, or file, the deed for you with the county. If you prepare the deed yourself, you need to take it or mail it to the County Recorder's or Registrar of Titles' office. Check with your county to find out the required recording fees and state deed tax and to learn whether any other miscellaneous fees apply.

Step 4. Make sure the trustee knows that the property is inside the trust.

Finally, document the transfer so your trustee/successor trustee knows what property the trust holds. Keep the recorded property deed with your trust records.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.