A common question that Orange County trust lawyers are asked when helping clients create their estate plans is, “how hard will it be to sell my house if I put it in a trust?”
The simple answer is that it’s not hard at all. In most cases, the grantor (or trust maker) also serves as trustee and retains full control over the assets in the trust. The actual sale of the house in the trust just like any other transaction. It doesn’t matter that the property is now owned by the trust and no longer in your personal name. As trustee you can enter into listing agreements with a real estate broker or sell the property privately as you see fit.
The only major difference is that you will be signing all paperwork related to the sale as trustee. For example, if your house is owned by the “Mary Jones Living Trust”, at closing, you will sign the paperwork as “Mary Jones, Trustee, of the Mary Jones Living Trust.” If there is money that’s owed to you from the buyer at closing, the check would also be made out to “Mary Jones, Trustee, of the Mary Jones Living Trust.” The check would then be deposited into account that’s owned by the trust, which again, the trustee has complete control over.
The process of selling a property in a revocable living trust is just as easy and straight forward for a successor trustee. A successor trustee is the “next in line” who takes over managing the assets in the trust upon the death or incapacity of the grantor. The successor trustee has the ability to list the home with a real estate broker and sign off on the deed at closing in the same way described above. The only caveat is that the successor trustee will need to distribute any proceeds from the sale to the beneficiaries according to the instructions set forth in the trust.
Will I Need Any Additional Documentation to Sell a Home in a Trust?
In preparation for closing, your title company will likely require a Certificate of Trust that’s signed by the attorney. Our clients can find a hard copy of their Certificate of Trust in the binder that we provide during the document signing. If the grantor has passed, the successor trustee will also likely be asked to provide a death certificate. Finally, the title company will need the tax ID number for the trust, if applicable.
Have Additional Questions About Selling a Home in a Trust?
Please feel free to contact our Orange County trust lawyers for guidance. If you don’t currently have a trust because you were worried that selling the property down the road would be frustrating and unnecessarily complicated, we hope this information has put your mind at ease. We’d be happy to answer any additional questions about trusts that you have during an initial meeting with our attorneys. To schedule an appointment , contact our Newport Beach law firm call (949) 260-1400.