Who Can Sign a Deed Transferring Property Owned by a Trust for the Trustee?

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person authority to perform actions on behalf of another person. A trustee can implement a power of attorney to allow a third person to sign a deed on behalf of the trustee. A signature from a valid power of attorney has the same effect as a signature from the trustee.

Recording Requirement

Several state laws require that a power of attorney used in connection with a deed must be recorded along with the deed. This means that if a third-party agent signs a deed under power of attorney from a trustee, that power of attorney must be recorded along with the deed. Recording means putting a copy of the power of attorney, and the deed, in the public county property records.

Successor Trustee

A problem may arise if trust property is titled in a trustee's name and the trustee passes away or becomes unable or unwilling to deal with the trust property. The trust agreement may provide a standardized procedure for the appointment of a new trustee, called the successor trustee. If not, state court judges have authority to appoint successor trustees under these and other circumstances. The successor trustee can sign a deed conveying trust property, even though the successor trustee's name does not appear in the property chain of title.

Co-trustee

Some trust agreements create co-trustee relationships, meeting two or more trustees cooperatively manage the trust and the trust property. If a trust appoints co-trustees, but some of the trust property is only titled in the name of one trustee, the other co-trustee can still sign a deed conveying the trust property. In other words, each co-trustee has authority to sign deeds on trust property, even if only one co-trustee appears on the property chain of title.

References

  • "Modern Real Estate Practice"; Fillmore W. Galaty, Wellington J. Allaway and Robert C. Kyle; 2007
  • "Make Your Own Living Trust"; Denis Clifford; 2009

About the Author

The Constitution Guru has worked as a writer and editor for "BYU Law Review" and "BYU Journal of Public Law." He is an experienced attorney with a law degree and a B.A. degree in history with an emphasis on U.S. Constitutional history, both earned at Brigham Young University.