One of the most important assets you can place in your living trust is your home, as well as other real estate you own. To do so requires changing the legal title of the real estate. Under California law, a document called a trust transfer deed is used to transfer your real estate into your living trust. The deed is recorded with the local county recorder’s office.
Gather the documents and forms you need to change title to your real estate, which include your living trust document, the current deed for any real estate being transferred to the trust, a blank form trust transfer deed and a blank form Preliminary Change of Ownership Report, or PCOR. If you are changing title to more than one property, you will need a blank trust transfer deed and PCOR for each property. A blank form trust transfer deed can typically be found on legal or real estate related websites. A blank form PCOR is available on most county government websites in California.
Prepare the trust transfer deed using the information from your trust document and the current real estate deed. The necessary information includes your name, mailing address, property legal description, the grantor's and grantees names and the Assessor's Parcel Number, usually abbreviated A.P.N. For the "Documentary Transfer Tax" insert "-0-" and check the box indicating there is no tax due. Where the reason for transfer is requested, insert the following reason: “This conveyance transfers an interest into or out of a Living Trust, R & T 11930.” Sign the document in front of a notary so he can affix his signature and seal. Then the document can be recorded.
Prepare the PCOR using the same information you used to prepare the trust transfer deed; also include the property's street address and your phone number. Your name should be included as transferor and as trustee as "transferee." Indicate whether the property is your principle residence. Complete all parts of the document as appropriate. The PCOR must be signed and dated, but does not have to be notarized.
File the completed trust transfer deed and PCOR with the county recorder where the property is located. Recording fees must be paid for the trust transfer deed. Each county has its own recording fee schedule which is usually available on its website. After the trust transfer deed is recorded, it will be mailed to you. The PCOR is not a public document and will not be returned.
Notify your insurance agent and lender regarding the change in title. You should add your name as trustee as an additional insured on all policies related to your property. In some cases, you may be asked to verify the existence of the trust. You do not have to give your insurance company or lender a copy of your living trust. California law allows you to provide basic trust information in a one page, notarized document known as a "Certification or Trust." Any insurance company or lender who requires this form should be able to provide it to you.
If you decide to refinance your mortgage with your current lender or a new lender, you will most likely be required to transfer the title back to your name as a condition of the refinance. You can transfer title back to your living trust once your refinance is complete.
If you have never prepared and recorded real estate documents, a real estate lawyer can help you with the process.
- The Law Offices of Jon G. Brooks: Funding Your Revocable Living Trust
- Kinsey Law Offices: Trust Transfer Deed Form
- Alameda County, California: Preliminary Change of Ownership Report
- Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder: Notice of Exempt Transactions Under the Documentary Transfer Tax
- Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder: Property Document Recording
- Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation: Certification of Trust
- If you have never prepared and recorded real estate documents, a real estate lawyer can help you with the process.
Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.