As part of updating your estate plan, you may decide it is time to move your real estate into a revocable trust. This may be the case when you update a plan to involve a trust, or when you determine that your current form of property ownership does not accomplish your estate planning goals. For example, if you own the property in your individual name, the property will have to go through the probate administration process if you die. Similarly, if you previously held the property as a joint tenant with your child, you may decide that this is too risky since the property technically belongs to both of you. Regardless of the motivation, documenting the move of the property into the trust is the next step in the process.
8 Steps for Transferring Real Estate Into Trust
The following is an overview of how to move your real estate into trust:
- Verify the ownership on the current title to your property. Your attorney will likely order a title report or conduct research to determine the current record owner. The report will also reveal how the current property is held, such as through joint tenancy or as tenants in common if there are multiple owners.
- Obtain the legal description for the property.
- Prepare a deed transferring the property from yourself individually to yourself as trustee of your living trust. An attorney should always be used for this process because deeds must meet certain strict criteria in order to be recordable or valid.
- Contact your lender and title insurance company to notify them of the change in title. Typically, there should be no objection as long as the transfer is going to you as trustee of a revocable trust, you are the initial beneficiary, and you maintain the right to amend or revoke the trust.
- Sign the deed in the presence of a notary.
- Have the deed recorded. To do so, you must deliver the deed and a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report to the County Recorder. You will also be required to pay a recorder’s fee. Recording the deed can also be accomplished through the mail.
- Keep the deed in a safe place. After the deed is recorded, you will receive the original back in the mail. It is important to keep this deed in a safe place, or give it to your attorney for safekeeping.
- Make appropriate updates. If your trust contains a schedule of property that has been moved into the trust, ensure that it has been updated appropriately.
Are you interested in learning more about amending your estate plan? We encourage you to get started by checking out our free pamphlet, The Ten Things You Must Know Before Creating (or Amending) Your Will or Trust.