Why would you put your house in a trust?

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Real Estate


It’s important to consult with a qualified trust attorney or financial advisor before making any decisions regarding a trust, but one of the main reasons people put their house in a trust is because assets in a trust do not go through probate after you die.  A will is not a trust.  


A will and a trust are separate legal documents that typically share a common goal of facilitating an estate plan. Since revocable trusts are used before the will takes effect at death, the trust takes precedence over the will when there are discrepancies between the two.


A will is a written document expressing a deceased person's wishes, from naming guardians of minor children to bequeathing objects and cash assets to friends, relatives, or charities. A will becomes active only after one's death. A trust is active the day you create it, and a grantor may list the distribution of assets before their death in it, unlike a will. There are irrevocable trusts, often created for tax purposes, which cannot be altered after their creation, and living trusts, which can be changed by the grantor.

All wills must go through a legal process called probate, where an authorized court administrator examines them. This process can be lengthy and potentially contentious if family members contest the will. Trusts are not required to go through probate when the grantor dies, and they cannot be contested.

Using a trust to pass on your house can also transfer ownership faster than probate would have and be less costly, but you need to be certain that you have the appropriate documents to make that happen.


When your home is in a trust, you as the Trustee have complete control over the asset.


What else can be put in the trust??  Bank accounts and other financial assets.


Putting a bank account into a trust will allow your successor trustee to access your account should you become incapacitated or die.  When you sell your home from a trust, the title company will need a copy of the ‘face pages’ of your trust to show who the trustees are and determine where the proceeds from the sale will go.  All proceeds must go into a bank account that names the trust.


Equally important to note is that there are assets that should NOT go into a trust.  Each person’s financial plans differ, hence why it’s important to consult a qualified professional.


No one expects to die suddenly but it happens.  The more prepared you are, the less stress it will add to your loved ones.