When you create a trust, you have to put property into the trust. You accomplish this by transferring legal title to the trustee. After the trust is created, the trustee holds legal title to the trust property, while the beneficiaries hold equitable title. Equitable title simply means the beneficiaries have an interest in the property, as described in the trust document. To transfer property out of the trust, you need the trustee to sign a written document transferring the property to the new owner. Only the trustee can transfer title out of the trust.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Assignment or deed of property
- Trust schedule
Review the trust document to see how the property must be handled and disbursed. All trusts are different, and you need to know whether there is a restriction on transferring the property. For example, if the trust says House must go to Son, then the trustee is not authorised to transfer House to Daughter.
Remove the property from the trust schedule by either deleting the property from the existing schedule, or even better, creating a new trust schedule to replace the former trust schedule. This is simply a matter of typing a new trust schedule and stapling it to the trust document in place of the former trust schedule.
Prepare an assignment or deed of property. An assignment of property works for personal property, while a deed is necessary for real estate.
Have the trustee sign and date the assignment or deed of property. For a deed, you will also need to have a public notary verify the trustee's signature on the deed.
Record the signed deed with the county recorder's office. This step is only necessary for transferring real estate, and you will have to pay a minimal recording fee, probably around £6. Anybody can record the deed as long as it has been signed and notarised.
Tips and warnings
- A deed is legally required to transfer title to real estate. For personal property, it is best to use an Assignment of Property. An Assignment of Property can be as simple as a signed document stating: "I, [name of trustee], as Trustee of the [name of the trust], transfer title to [describe the property] to [name of new owner]." While an Assignment of Property is not legally required for most personal property, it is highly recommended because it creates a written record that can be used as evidence if there is ever a disagreement over who owns the property. The signed Assignment of Property should be kept in a file with all of the other trust documents.
- Don't neglect the "equitable" title that a beneficiary may have in the property. If the trustee transfers legal title to property, but the trust document actually says that property should go to somebody else, then your paper transfer will not actually transfer the property. The beneficiary who under the terms of the trust was supposed to receive the property could sue the trustee to recover full title to the property. To avoid this problem, you and the trustee must review the trust document carefully to see how the property should be disbursed. If you have questions or if the issue seems a little fuzzy, consider consulting with an attorney for help.
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