How to Transfer Property Held in a Trust

How to Transfer Property Held in a Trust
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Establishing a trust to hold assets is a common method of estate planning. You can set up a trust to be either irrevocable or revocable. In most cases, an irrevocable trust cannot easily be changed once it's established. Generally, another person acts as the trustee in control of the assets of an irrevocable trust. A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, can be changed and altered. You generally act as the trustee of your living trust, and appoint a successor trustee to handle the distribution and control of your assets upon your death. When you transfer property into the trust, you no longer own it as an individual. If you want to sell or transfer property that you have transferred to your living trust, you can accomplish this with a deed just as you would transfer a property that you owned as an individual.

Review the original trust document to ensure you have the authority to transfer property. Generally, with a living trust, you act as the trustee and you gave yourself this power upon the creation of the trust. Check the property's original deed to verify that it is held by the trust, and not you as an individual.

Contact your attorney to prepare a deed to complete the transfer of the property. You can also use a blank deed template, which is available at most office supply stores. However, your attorney should know the proper verbiage that needs to appear in the deed to make it valid and enforceable.

Sign the deed in the presence of a notary public. You'll need to sign as the trustee of the trust. For example, if the trust is named the "Fred Smith Family Trust", you'll sign "Fred Smith, Trustee of the Fred Smith Family Trust" and date it. If someone else is named as the trustee, they need to sign the deed also.

Take the deed to the county clerk or register of deeds to have the deed filed on record.


  • It's vital to record property documents to ensure that the chain of title for the property isn't broken or compromised. Failing to record can cause future issues regarding the sale of the property and title insurance policies.


  • If you plan to refinance property held in a trust, the mortgage lender might require it to come out of the trust first. You'll have to sign two deeds -- one taking the property out of trust and one to put the property back into the trust after recording the refinance loan.