How to Transfer a Deed in a Living Trust

By Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.

How to Transfer a Deed in a Living Trust

By Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.

If you have a living revocable trust, you can transfer property into and out of the trust whenever you want, but there are procedures you'll need to follow.

One of the assets you can transfer is a deed to your real estate, known as real property. Transferring a deed in or out of a trust isn't complicated, but in some cases, you may want legal assistance instead of doing it yourself.

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Funding the Trust

To fund the trust, you simply need to transfer your assets into the trust. Once you transfer your assets to the trust, the assets become part of the trust.

You can transfer your real property to a living trust, along with other assets. In some states, you can move your assets—including your house—into the trust by yourself, but in other states, you'll need legal assistance to set up your trust. Check your local laws or consult an attorney to see if you need professional help to set up the trust. Setting up the trust includes funding the trust.

To fund the trust with your house, transfer your deed to the trust, which will then be the owner of the house. So long as it's a living revocable trust, you can always take your house out of the trust if you change your mind.

Steps to Transfer a Deed into Your Trust

There are several steps to take when transferring the deed to your real property into your trust. If you're not using an attorney or an online service, and if your state allows you to fund your trust by yourself, here are the steps to move your house into your living trust.

1. Find your deed. Make sure you own the property, otherwise you don't have the right to transfer it to the trust. Check to see if you own it by yourself or jointly. If you own it jointly, you'll need your co-owner's signature to place the deed in the trust.

2. Use the correct deed. Many people transfer their real property to the trust with a quitclaim deed, but many attorneys advise against it. A quitclaim deed only transfers the interest you own in the property—it doesn't verify that you own the property and it could make selling the property by a future owner difficult since ownership isn't guaranteed. It's better to transfer the deed to the trust with a warranty deed or get an estate or real estate attorney to help you transfer the deed properly, as each state has different requirements.

3. Find out if you need new title insurance for the property. Once the trust gets the new deed, either the mortgage lender or the title company may require new title insurance, so be sure to check with both companies.

4. Create a new deed. You must copy the same language which describes the premises and the land from your present deed to the new deed. Make sure it's an exact match. To indicate that the trust now owns the deed, use language on the deed to show that the transfer is to the trust. For example, your deed should read "Revocable Living Trust of Jane Doe." Wait to fill in the date when you're in the notary's presence.

5. Sign and date the deed in a notary's presence. Sign your name as "Sam Smith, Grantor and Trustee of the Revocable Living Trust of Jane Doe." Print the same words below your signature. This specifies that the deed is part of a trust. If there's a joint tenant, the joint tenant must sign the new deed as the grantor, but not necessarily as trustee if they're not the trustee. Also, put the date on the deed.

6. Record the deed. Recording the deed requires you to file it in either your county clerk's office, the land records office, or a similarly-named office. Pay the recording fee, if any.

How to Transfer Property Out of a Living Trust

Transferring real property out of a living trust—which you can do at any time with a revocable trust—requires taking almost the same steps as when you transferred the property into the trust. You can transfer the property from the trust to an individual or back to yourself.

1. Find the living trust deed. Ascertain that it's the same deed you moved into the trust.

2. Use the proper trust-deed format. Use a warranty deed, if at all possible, because a quitclaim deed could cause problems with the title later on. If you're not sure if you can use a warranty deed, consult an attorney.

3. Find out if you need new title insurance. Call the title insurance company or the mortgage lender to see if either requires new title insurance.

4. Create a new deed. This time, you'll be transferring the deed in the name of the living trust, so list the name of the living trust as the seller or grantor of the deed. The trust will no longer own the real property. Again, copy the property description exactly as it's listed on the deed in trust.

5. Sign and date the deed in a notary's presence. While the trust is transferring the property to you as an individual, or to someone else, the trust conveys the deed in the name of the trust. This time, though, you'll sign it as an individual—if it's being conveyed to you—with just your name and no other designation. Date the deed in the notary's presence.

6. Record the deed. If you're the grantee of the deed, file it in the proper office, such as the county clerk's office or the land records office. Check your county directory online to see where to record the deed.

Transferring a deed in or out of a trust is a relatively simple process, but if it's not done correctly, you, your co-owner, or your beneficiaries may have problems selling the property. Consider consulting an attorney for the proper transfer in or out of your living revocable trust. Once your property is correctly moved in or out of the trust, you can rest assured you've transferred your property the way you intended.

If you have a living revocable trust, you can transfer property into and out of the trust whenever you want, but there are procedures you'll need to follow.

One of the assets you can transfer is a deed to your real estate, known as real property. Transferring a deed in or out of a trust isn't complicated, but in some cases, you may want legal assistance instead of doing it yourself.

Funding the Trust

To fund the trust, you simply need to transfer your assets into the trust. Once you transfer your assets to the trust, the assets become part of the trust.

You can transfer your real property to a living trust, along with other assets. In some states, you can move your assets—including your house—into the trust by yourself, but in other states, you'll need legal assistance to set up your trust. Check your local laws or consult an attorney to see if you need professional help to set up the trust. Setting up the trust includes funding the trust.

To fund the trust with your house, transfer your deed to the trust, which will then be the owner of the house. So long as it's a living revocable trust, you can always take your house out of the trust if you change your mind.

Steps to Transfer a Deed into Your Trust

There are several steps to take when transferring the deed to your real property into your trust. If you're not using an attorney or an online service, and if your state allows you to fund your trust by yourself, here are the steps to move your house into your living trust.

1. Find your deed. Make sure you own the property, otherwise you don't have the right to transfer it to the trust. Check to see if you own it by yourself or jointly. If you own it jointly, you'll need your co-owner's signature to place the deed in the trust.

2. Use the correct deed. Many people transfer their real property to the trust with a quitclaim deed, but many attorneys advise against it. A quitclaim deed only transfers the interest you own in the property—it doesn't verify that you own the property and it could make selling the property by a future owner difficult since ownership isn't guaranteed. It's better to transfer the deed to the trust with a warranty deed or get an estate or real estate attorney to help you transfer the deed properly, as each state has different requirements.

3. Find out if you need new title insurance for the property. Once the trust gets the new deed, either the mortgage lender or the title company may require new title insurance, so be sure to check with both companies.

4. Create a new deed. You must copy the same language which describes the premises and the land from your present deed to the new deed. Make sure it's an exact match. To indicate that the trust now owns the deed, use language on the deed to show that the transfer is to the trust. For example, your deed should read "Revocable Living Trust of Jane Doe." Wait to fill in the date when you're in the notary's presence.

5. Sign and date the deed in a notary's presence. Sign your name as "Sam Smith, Grantor and Trustee of the Revocable Living Trust of Jane Doe." Print the same words below your signature. This specifies that the deed is part of a trust. If there's a joint tenant, the joint tenant must sign the new deed as the grantor, but not necessarily as trustee if they're not the trustee. Also, put the date on the deed.

6. Record the deed. Recording the deed requires you to file it in either your county clerk's office, the land records office, or a similarly-named office. Pay the recording fee, if any.

How to Transfer Property Out of a Living Trust

Transferring real property out of a living trust—which you can do at any time with a revocable trust—requires taking almost the same steps as when you transferred the property into the trust. You can transfer the property from the trust to an individual or back to yourself.

1. Find the living trust deed. Ascertain that it's the same deed you moved into the trust.

2. Use the proper trust-deed format. Use a warranty deed, if at all possible, because a quitclaim deed could cause problems with the title later on. If you're not sure if you can use a warranty deed, consult an attorney.

3. Find out if you need new title insurance. Call the title insurance company or the mortgage lender to see if either requires new title insurance.

4. Create a new deed. This time, you'll be transferring the deed in the name of the living trust, so list the name of the living trust as the seller or grantor of the deed. The trust will no longer own the real property. Again, copy the property description exactly as it's listed on the deed in trust.

5. Sign and date the deed in a notary's presence. While the trust is transferring the property to you as an individual, or to someone else, the trust conveys the deed in the name of the trust. This time, though, you'll sign it as an individual—if it's being conveyed to you—with just your name and no other designation. Date the deed in the notary's presence.

6. Record the deed. If you're the grantee of the deed, file it in the proper office, such as the county clerk's office or the land records office. Check your county directory online to see where to record the deed.

Transferring a deed in or out of a trust is a relatively simple process, but if it's not done correctly, you, your co-owner, or your beneficiaries may have problems selling the property. Consider consulting an attorney for the proper transfer in or out of your living revocable trust. Once your property is correctly moved in or out of the trust, you can rest assured you've transferred your property the way you intended.

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