A living trust is an arrangement in which you place assets under the care of a trustee for eventual distribution to beneficiaries. One of the main advantages of a living trust is that trust assets don't go have to go through probate after you die -- instead they can be distributed to beneficiaries at any time before or after you die. A living trust can hold real estate, and the trustee's name will appear on the deed. The trustee may transfer the property represented by a deed to a trust beneficiary or even to a third party, if the terms of the trust authorize him to do so.
Locate the trust deed that represents the property that is being transferred out of the trust. The trustee is normally in possession of this document. You don't need the original, however -- a copy will suffice as long as it is readable. If you can't locate a copy of the deed, go to the land recorder's office in the county where the property is located and request a copy.
Ask the county land recorder for a quitclaim deed template. Quitclaim deeds are often used instead of warranty deeds when transferring property out of the trust. This is done to prevent the trustee from becoming liable to the grantee in case the title to the property is defective in some way -- for example, if it is subject to an unrecorded lien.
Fill in a legal description of the property being transferred. A street address is not enough -- instead, record the exact wording of the legal description that appears on the property's current title deed.
Enter the names of the grantor and the grantee. The grantor is the trustee, "on behalf of the [trust name]," and the grantee is the beneficiary or a third party.
Insert the purchase price, if the property is being sold. This is not necessary if the property is being gifted to a trust beneficiary.
Sign the deed in the presence of a notary public, and have the notary public add his signature and seal. The grantee does not need to sign the deed.
File the deed with the county land recorder. The land recorder will provide the grantee with a copy of the deed.
Once you transfer property to an irrevocable living trust, it legally belongs to the trust beneficiaries, not you. If the trust deed states that the trust is revocable, however, you can remove the property from the trust at any time before it is distributed to beneficiaries.
- FindLaw: What Are Property Deeds?
- "Wills, Trusts and Estates Examples & Explanations"; Gerry W. Beyer; 2007
- Bankrate.com: Understanding Quitclaim, Warranty Deeds on Property
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images