How to Transfer Property Into a Trust

Written by phil m. fowler
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The purpose of a trust is to hold title to property for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. Transferring property into a trust really means conveying title to the trustee of the trust. The trustee holds legal title subject to the terms and condition of the trust.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Trust document
  • Trust schedule
  • Deed or other conveyance document

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  1. 1

    Identify the trustee of the trust and the official name of the trust.

  2. 2

    Identify the property you want to transfer to the trustee.

  3. 3

    List each item of property on the trust schedule.

  4. 4

    Sign a document of conveyance from yourself to the trustee. For real estate, this will need to be a deed, such as a quitclaim or warranty deed, while for personal property, this can be a simple document called a Conveyance of Property or an Assignment of Property.

  5. 5

    Have the deed recorded in the office of the county recorder for the county in which the real estate is located. This step, of course, is only necessary if you are transferring real estate.

Tips and warnings

  • All property transferred to a trustee should be transferred to "[Name of Trustee], as Trustee of the [Trust Name]." Using this official language will ensure that the trustee never claims you transferred the property to her personally instead of as trustee subject to the terms and conditions of the trust.
  • Some property should not be transferred to trust. Retirement accounts and personal current accounts, for example, should be left out of trust. Even more importantly, some property is illegal to transfer to trust. In some states, for example, it is illegal to transfer title to cars into a trust.

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