Transferring Real Estate into a Trust With a LawyerCongratulations! You took the most important step in creating an Estate Plan—you met with a lawyer and finalized your documents. That’s more than two-thirds of Americans have done. However, you are not done yet.

There is a common misconception that once you sign the final documents with your Estate Planning Attorney, your Estate Plan is good to go. When we work with clients on a comprehensive plan that includes a Revocable Living Trust, we provide extensive instructions for what their next steps should be. If the plan is to include the family home in the Trust, we will guide our clients through the process of moving real estate into the Trust. It’s important that you do not skip these last steps if you want your Estate Plan to protect your assets from the Texas Probate process.

What Is a Revocable Living Trust?

Just to review, a Trust is a tool for passing property and assets directly to your beneficiaries upon your death without the need for Probate. When you create a Trust, you create a new entity that owns your assets now and after your passing. While you are alive, you have total control and access to your assets. Upon your death, the Trustee you have named will follow your instructions for managing the Trust. If assets are in your name when you die, the Probate court will have to get involved in transferring the assets to your heirs. However, when the Trust owns your assets, no such transfer is necessary because the Trust outlives you.

How to Transfer Real Estate Into a Trust

It usually makes sense to put your real estate holdings into the Trust along with other assets. What does it mean to put your house into a Trust? Essentially, it just means transferring ownership of the house from yourself and your spouse to the Trust. To do that, you will need to take the following steps:

  • Prepare a deed form. Your Estate Planning lawyer should provide you with this form during the Trust creation process. The full legal name of the Trust will be entered as the new owner of the property. Trusts are usually named something like “The John and Jane Doe Living Trust” or “The Doe Family Living Trust.” So, for example, instead of the deed listing the owners as John and Jane Doe, it will list The Doe Family Trust as the owner.
  • Recording the deed. Once the deed is signed and notarized, you will need to file a copy with the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. You will keep the original, which will be stamped by the clerk’s office to show that it has been recorded. The new deed should be kept in a safe place with the rest of your Trust documents.

Transferring your house into the Trust is a simple process but a very important one. At Ross & Shoalmire, we make sure our clients understand what they need to do and follow up with them to make sure they do it!

What Happens to the House After Your Death?

When you put the family home into a Trust, you will also provide instructions for your Trustee about what should happen to it when you die. You might want the house to be sold right away and the proceeds to be disbursed to your heirs. If it is a house that has been in the family for generations, you might name a single heir or multiple heirs to become the owners. If it is a vacation home, you might leave it to all of your children equally. What you do with the house is entirely up to you, and your instructions can be changed at any time during your lifetime—that is what is meant by a Revocable Living Trust. Your Estate Planning Attorney will review your options with you when you create your Trust.

Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texarkana, TX?

If you are looking for Estate Planning advice, you need to speak with an experienced Estate Planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, and Longview, as well as Magnolia, AR!

Kline Pillow
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Kline Pillow helps clients in TX and AR planning for the aging process with a specialty in Guardianship cases.