What is an Assignment of Trust Deed?

By Tom Streissguth

If you own a home, you may have signed a trust deed that gives the mortgage lender a claim on the property. A default on the loan gives the lender the legal authority to foreclose on the loan and take possession of the house. An assignment of a trust deed conveys that claim to another party.


Lenders have the right to sell their home loans. This can happen once or several times over the long life of a mortgage. The usual customers for mortgages are banks and other companies that are seeking safe and stable investment returns. This "secondary" market for mortgages is quite active, and a lender has plenty of opportunity to sell a mortgage and turn a profit.


When a lender sells the loan, it assigns the trust deed to the buyer. “Assignment” means to convey a claim or a right to another party, known as the “assignee.” This is done by creating another legal document — the assignment of trust deed — and having it signed by both buyer and seller. The trust deed, and other documents associated with the loan, become the property of the buyer.

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The assignment of trust deed is a short, usually single-page document. The body text gives the names of the deed buyer and the property owner, the date of the original trust deed, and the legal description of the property for which the original deed was executed. It may also give the terms of the deed sale. The seller signs and dates the document, and has it notarized. The buyer then has the assignment of trust deed recorded with the registrar of the county where the property is located.


A borrower has no legal right to block or negotiate the terms of an assignment of trust deed. The assignment does not affect the terms of the loan. The monthly payments remain the same, although the borrower will have to send them to a new address. The new owner of the trust deed becomes the lender and collects all mortgage payments, sometimes on its own and sometimes through a servicing company. If a default occurs, the latest assignee has the right to foreclose and repossess the home.

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