What Does "Revocable Trust" Mean on a Deed to a House?

by Ciaran John ; Updated July 27, 2017

A real estate deed contains a description of a piece of real estate and lists the names of the property owners. People and legal entities can own real estate, and if the name of a revocable trust appears on a deed, it means that the real estate in question belongs to that trust. Revocable trusts work differently from other types of trusts, which means you do not entirely lose control of your property when you sign the deed over to your trust.

Revocable Trust

A revocable trust comes into existence when the trust writer, known as the settlor or grantor, writes a trust agreement. This agreement includes a list of assets that belong to the trust, and it also includes the name of the trustee. The trustee oversees the daily management of the assets inside the trust, including real estate. You can name yourself as the trustee of your own revocable trust. The trust document also contains a list of trust beneficiaries, and these individuals are entitled to a share of your trust's assets upon your death.

Probate

The assets inside your trust belong to your trust rather than to you, which means that these assets do not form part of your estate after you die. You can directly pass real estate to your heirs with a revocable trust document, or you can instruct the trustee to sell the real estate and pass on the sale proceeds to your heirs. Neither the real estate that belongs to the trust nor the sale proceeds have to pass through probate. This means that your heirs can avoid the legal costs associated with probate.

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Ownership

If you sign over the deed from your home to another type of trust, such as an irrevocable trust, then you no longer have an ownership stake in the property. In a revocable trust, you have the right to dissolve the trust at any time. This means that although the home technically belongs to the trust, you have the ability to take back the property at any time. If you dissolve the trust, then you must file a new deed at the county courthouse that lists you, rather than the trust, as the property owner.

Considerations

In states such as Florida, caps exist that prevent the local authorities from increasing your property taxes by more than a fixed percentage from one year to the next. The taxes reset when the home changes hands, which means your property tax could rise if you transfer ownership of your home to your trust. Furthermore, creditors in some states cannot ask the court to force you to sell your homestead. If you sign the deed of your home over to your revocable trust, then you may enable creditors to make claims on that property. Consult a trust attorney in your state before transferring ownership of your assets to a trust.

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