Transferring Real Estate to Your Trust

The process of transferring real estate, such as a home or property, to a trust involves several legal steps and requirements that can vary by location. This guide outlines the general process of transferring property to a trust. 

Understanding the Process of Transferring Real Estate to a Trust

The process of transferring property into a trust generally involves the following steps:

  1. Check Local Requirements: Begin by contacting your county recorder or clerk's office to inquire about specific requirements for deeds in your area. They can inform you about formatting, necessary additional paperwork, and whether they offer deed templates. Most states recognize several types of deeds, but “Quit Claim Deeds” or “Trust Transfer Deeds” are most commonly used to transfer property to a Trust.
  2. Complete the Deed: Fill out the deed to transfer the property, designating the Trustee of the trust as the Grantee. It's helpful to reference a copy of the previous deed, which can usually be obtained from the county recorder. 
  3. Complete Additional Paperwork: Some counties require extra documentation, often to identify the trust's beneficiary. If you are establishing the trust, you will typically be the beneficiary during your lifetime.
  4. Record the Deed: Take or mail the completed deed to the county recorder's office for official recording. The office can provide details on this process, including any associated fees.

Transferring a Property with a Mortgage

When your property is under a mortgage, it's crucial to understand how transferring it to a trust might affect your loan:

  • Due-on-Sale Clauses: Many mortgages have clauses that demand full repayment if the property is transferred. However, federal and state laws usually exempt transfers into trusts from triggering these clauses, as long as the property is residential (with five or fewer units) and the trust grants you occupancy rights.
  • Contact Your Lender: Before transferring your property, reach out to your lender to discuss the transfer and request written confirmation that it won't violate your loan terms. This precaution helps avoid potential legal issues.
  • Refinancing Considerations: If you're planning to refinance, it may be simpler to wait until after this process to transfer your property into the trust. Lenders often require the property to be temporarily removed from the trust for refinancing.

A Note on Insurance Policies

Transferring a property to a trust typically doesn't affect most real estate insurance policies (like fire, casualty, and liability insurance). However, it's wise to confirm with your insurance providers that your policies will remain in effect post-transfer and whether any endorsements are needed.


More Resources

View, download, or print our comprehensive guide to funding your Trust: Trust Funding Guide

Learn more about transferring various asset types to your Trust: Funding Your Trust: How to Transfer Assets to a Trust


This information is intended as a reference only. It is not legal advice nor intended to cover every possible situation. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions. Some details for funding your Trust may change over time. For example, if the Trustee changes, that would likely affect how you would title assets held in the Trust.

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