Putting your house into your living trust
A house is often the main asset people own, and one that can cause a lot of problems after death. Once you have executed your living trust, it is important to have the ownership of your home properly transferred.
If you fail to do this prior to your death, your house will not be owned by the trust, and your loved ones may have to go through probate to have the house properly transferred. Between the time of your death and the time probate ends, there is plenty of room for disputes among family members. The house may not end up with the person or people you intended.
Depending on where the property is located, there are a couple of steps you must complete for a valid transfer.
Drafting a new deed
To transfer title into the trust, you will need to execute a new deed, granting your ownership interest from you as an individual to you as trustee of the trust (assuming you are the initial trustee). It, along with the notary acknowledgement, must be filed with the county recorder's office. You will have to pay a filing fee.
There may be slight differences in the requirements between different counties. Once filed, the recorder's office will send you back a copy of the recorded deed. You should keep this with your records.
Preliminary Change of Ownership Report
Any time you transfer real property, California requires you to also file a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (PCOR). This includes a transfer to a living trust. You will need to indicate that it is such a transfer on the PCOR in order to avoid a property tax reassessment on the property. This document should be submitted at the time you record the new deed.
The process of transferring ownership of a timeshare to your trust is similar to that for other real estate. Check with your timeshare company for any internal requirements they may have for changing title on the company's end.
Requirements of other states
If you own property in a state other than California, you can still transfer ownership into your revocable living trust. However, the requirements and filing fees in other states are often different than California. You will have to check with the recorder's office in that state for the particular requirements. Alternatively, you can get help from a company that drafts deeds, or from the attorney who prepared your living trust.
If you have a mortgage on the property, you should check with your lender to make sure the loan terms will remain the same.
A living trust is not worth much if you don't transfer ownership of your assets prior to your death. As a house is an important asset, it often becomes the focal point of probate disputes and litigation. Therefore, it is crucial that you properly transfer ownership once your living trust is executed.
Helix Law Firm can help with estate planning
We can help determine the best type of estate plan for your needs. If that includes a revocable living trust, we can draft a deed to transfer ownership of your house into your trust.
If you're interested in learning more about how Helix can help, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.