Removing Real Estate From a Revocable Trust

by Carol Deeb

    After spending a lifetime earning and accumulating assets, it can be disheartening to have your beneficiaries struggle to inherit their share because of the time and cost of probate, which requires a court to settle your estate. Creating a revocable trust while you are alive helps you avoid the probate process and allows your property, including real estate, to be distributed directly to your heirs. During the course of your lifetime, though, your situation may change and you might have a need to remove the real estate from your trust.

    Revocable Trust

    A revocable trust owns your assets until the time of distribution after your death. While you're alive, you can move your property in and out of the trust and, as the trustee, you have full control over your assets. Your trust names a successor trustee that takes over upon your death or if you are not able to care for your affairs while you're still alive. A list of the property you want held in trust is noted in an attachment. Assets owned by title, such as vehicles and real estate, must be officially transferred into the trust's name before they are protected from probate. An attorney can create a revocable trust or you can use an Internet site, such as Nolo.com or Global-Wills.com, to complete the necessary details.

    Removing Real Estate

    As the trustee, you can buy and sell real estate in the trust's name. Once a transaction selling your property is complete, it will automatically be removed from the trust because it will no longer be owned by it. Update your property list reflecting the current assets held in trust. If you want to remove real estate from the trust without selling it, you must use a quitclaim deed to place the title back in your name.

    Quitclaim Deed

    Use an attorney to file a quitclaim deed transferring ownership out of the trust or complete the process yourself. Place the name of the trust as the grantor and your name or the person receiving the property as the grantee. Use the legal description of the real estate, which can be found on your property tax bill or at your county recorder's office. As the trustee, you must sign the quitclaim deed and have it notarized. Take it to your county recorder's office for filing, and check in two to four weeks to confirm that it has been transferred out of your trust.

    Considerations

    Once you remove real estate out of your revocable trust, the quitclaim deed cannot be reversed. To transfer the same property back into the trust, you must submit a new deed with the name of the trust as the grantee. In addition, a trust should be accompanied by a will to ensure your wishes that are not related to your assets are followed, such as naming the guardians of your minor children.

    About the Author

    Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.

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