How to Transfer Real Property to a Living Trust
Jenna’s estate planning attorney suggested she create a living trust. It seemed like the best way for her to pass her property to her heirs. She was confused, however, when her lawyer said she had to ‘transfer’ her real estate to her trust. Wasn’t it enough just to create the trust? No, Jenna needed to learn how to transfer her real property to her living trust.
Creating the Trust.
It’s usually a revocable trust. That means if you change your mind, you can change your trust.
As grantor, you write and sign a trust document. You’ll name a trustee and at least one beneficiary. Sign the document before a notary public. There, you’re done, right?
Nope. The trust is empty, waiting to be filled.
Funding the Trust.
When you transfer assets to a trust it’s called “funding” the trust. In this blog, we’ll talk about funding the trust with real property, although other types of property may become trust assets. One great thing about living trusts? You continue to control the property even after it’s transferred to the trust.
The trust document includes a list of property that will transfer to the trust. Personal property may not have to be itemized. Real property should be listed separately.
For each piece of real property, you’ll need to prepare, sign, and record a deed. You’re probably thinking, “Oh, no. More legal documents!” They’re necessary, though, and not that hard to complete.
How to Transfer Real Property.
You’ll need to choose which deed to use: quitclaim or warranty.
- Quitclaim deeds only sign over your legal interest. This kind of deed can be used even when another person or entity has an interest in the property.
- Warranty deeds transfer property that is owned free and clear.
Fill in the information at the top of the deed. That tells the county recorder where to send the recorded document. This usually will be you or your attorney.
Complete the names of the parties. Remember, you’re the grantor. The grantee is the living trust (The James and Martha Williams Living Trust, for example).
State the county in which the property is located. Then find the legal description of the property you want to transfer. This is important – the legal description must be correct. A typical legal description might read something like this:
All of Lots 5 and 6 of the Livingston Subdivision as recorded in Book 340 of Maps, Page 24-27 of the Maricopa County Records, City of Gilbert, Maricopa County, Arizona.
The description may contain something more technical like:
… Thence South 24°07’20” West, 108.36 feet along said southwesterly right of way line to the point that lies on said southwesterly right of way line to the point of tangency …
Once that’s completed, you’ll need to sign the deed before a notary public.
The final step is critical: You must record the deed with the county recorder within sixty days of signing. Make sure you keep a copy if you mail it to the recorder. The original recorded deed will be returned to the person you named in the first step above.
Some Final Thoughts.
The attorneys at the Keystone Law Firm assist clients every day with customized estate planning. Call us at (480) 418-8448 to set up an appointment. You may also want to check out our free videos at keystonelawfirm.com. Although located in Chandler, we also work with clients in the surrounding communities like Sun Lakes, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe.
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